What are the best Prince Harry quotes from his autobiography Spare? What are the most shocking reveals in the book?
In Spare, Prince Harry explains why he left his homeland, family, and royal role, instead choosing to live in California with his wife Meghan Markle. Harry tells his life story from his own perspective, rather than from the distorted perspective of the British media.
Continue reading for quotes from Spare that will keep you pondering about the Royal Family.
Spare Quotes by Prince Harry
In Spare, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, explains why he made the extraordinary decision to leave the United Kingdom and the Royal Family, instead choosing to live in California with his wife, Meghan Markle. He provides a brutally honest look into the life of an English prince, particularly the struggles that come from being a younger son—not the heir-apparent, but merely a “spare.”
Harry talks frankly about his often difficult relationships with his family, his struggles with mental illness, and the seemingly endless harassment he suffers from the press and paparazzi. However, he also shares the high points of his life: His time in the military, his philanthropic work, and his marriage.
Here are four Prince Harry quotes from his book to give you more insight into his life.
“It wasn’t that she felt no emotions. On the contrary, I always thought that Granny experienced all the normal human emotions. She just knew better than the rest of us mortals how to control them.”
Harry is the grandson of the late Queen Elizabeth II, who was the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch and a beloved figure in British society.
Harry had a special relationship with the late Queen. He portrays her as warm and loving, with a great sense of humor, and says that pictures of the two of them always seemed to show them silently sharing secret and private jokes.
(Shortform note: Harry writes as though presenting a side of Queen Elizabeth that most people never saw. However, the late Queen’s sense of humor and her close, humor-filled relationship with Harry were well known and documented.)
Despite how close he was with Queen Elizabeth, Harry says that shows of affection between members of the Royal Family were practically unheard of, even in private. He mentions feeling intense jealousy whenever he heard about, for example, the Queen hugging a sick child during a hospital visit.
In the book’s epilogue, Harry briefly discusses going to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September 2022. He describes his fondness for his grandmother and says that he felt a deep sense of connection with the people who offered him condolences—and, through them, with the United Kingdom as a whole.
“In some ways he was my mirror, in some ways he was my opposite. My beloved brother, my arch-nemesis, how had that happened?”
Aside from Princess Diana, the family member Harry discusses most is his older brother William. The brothers’ relationship was contentious; Harry portrays William as petty and self-centered, often unable to celebrate Harry’s successes because he’s too wrapped up in sibling rivalry. For example, when Harry mentioned that he wanted to do conservation work in Africa, William became upset because Africa was supposed to be “his” project.
Perhaps the most extreme example of the strife between the brothers came in 2019, when William confronted Harry about his wife, Meghan Markle. William said that she was rude, unpleasant, and impossible to please, and Harry retorted that he was just repeating lies the tabloids printed. Their argument escalated until Wiliam grabbed Harry’s collar and threw him to the ground, then demanded he get up and fight back. Harry refused and instead waited for William to leave before calling his therapist to discuss the incident.
Later, when Harry attended his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021, William said that all he really wanted was for Harry and Meghan to be happy. However, Harry didn’t believe him.
“The Heir and the Spare—there was no judgment about it, but also no ambiguity. I was the shadow, the support, the Plan B. I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy. I was summoned to provide backup, distraction, diversion and, if necessary, a spare part. Kidney, perhaps. Blood transfusion. Speck of bone marrow. This was all made explicitly clear to me from the start of life’s journey and regularly reinforced thereafter.”
Complicating Harry and William’s brotherly relationship was the fact that William is the heir-apparent to the throne, while Harry was simply a “spare”; a backup plan in case something should happen to William. Harry claims not to resent this fact: It’s simply how things are, and he says there’s no sense in getting upset over it. However, he was always aware that he was a secondary concern—William got the first and best of everything, while Harry was an afterthought, if people thought of him at all.
(Shortform note: Younger children of royalty have suffered from their positions all throughout history. They’re trained from birth for roles that they’ll most likely never hold, leaving them frustrated, aimless, and depressed. These “spare” royals have coped with their situation in numerous unhealthy ways, ranging from debauchery and attention-seeking to attempting to seize the throne by force.)
“I love my Mother Country, and I love my family, and I always will. I just wish, at the second-darkest moment of my life, they’d been there for me too. And I believe they’ll look back one day and wish they had too.”
Desperate to escape from the constant media harassment they faced in the UK, and the death threats that came with it, Harry and Meghan decided that they would step back from their roles as royalty and begin splitting their time between North America and the UK. Their official statement announcing this appeared on Instagram on January 8, 2020.
A few days later, the Royal Family met to discuss exactly what this “stepping back” would entail. Harry understood that giving up their royal duties also meant giving up their royal income—the money the government paid them for their services—but he was shocked when he found that he’d also be losing his security detail. In fact, the head of Harry’s security team said that only the Queen had a higher estimated threat level than Harry and Meghan; even so, they would lose their protection at the end of March 2020. Harry and Meghan would have to pay for their own security.
In February 2021, Buckingham Palace announced that they’d reviewed the previous agreement regarding Harry and Meghan. Effective immediately, the couple now had to relinquish many of their royal roles—such as being the official patrons of charities and, in Harry’s case, having certain honorary military roles. In other words, the Royal Family was officially cutting almost all remaining ties with them.
Today, Harry and Meghan live in California, in the United States. They first moved there in March 2020, staying in the home of film director Tyler Perry (who provided paid-for security for the couple). They later purchased their own home, a place to raise their children and begin their new life.
———End of Preview———
Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Prince Harry's "Spare" at Shortform.
Here's what you'll find in our full Spare summary:
- Prince Harry's autobiography about growing up as a member of the Royal Family
- The struggles that come from being the younger son—not the heir-apparent
- How Prince Harry deals with harassment from paparazzi and mental illness