Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’ Is Officially Out in the World. But Where Do the Sussexes Go from Here?

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I’ve been a royal watcher for decades; co-host of the Royally Obsessed podcast with Roberta Fiorito for three years. Even I wasn’t expecting the range of truth bombs Prince Harry selected to drop in his new memoir Spare, out today.

By now, you’d have to have been living under a rock to have missed the drama: What was set to be a highly orchestrated book release was usurped by a New York journalist getting their hands on a leaked copy early. Immediately following, a Spanish bookstore broke the embargo and sold copies early, sparking a frenzy. As royal reporters the world over raced to translate, the sheer volume of headlines caused me to do something that surprised me: I looked away.

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I wanted to wait for the book to come out, to read it in full, to hear the context behind each and every one of Harry’s revelations. Come on, there had to be a reason he was sharing details such as his frostbitten, well, you know, at Prince William & Kate Middleton’s wedding and comparing family hairlines. Not to mention the more shocking claims like the physical altercation he got into with his brother back in 2019 and his stepmother Camilla Parker-Bowles’s sinister-sounding role in feeding the tabloids.

What’s more, I wanted to hear Harry’s own voice as he was interviewed about the claims he’s made—first in a sit-down with ITV’s Tom Bradby (the man who famously asked Meghan Markle, “Are you OK?” while the couple was on a royal tour in Africa), then Anderson Cooper, Michael Strahan and Stephen Colbert.

Now, book in hand and TV interviews (mostly) behind me, I realize the question I’m largely seeking the answer to as I digest it all: With Harry’s story officially out in the world, what’s next?

Harry’s not the first royal to write a tell-all, after all. We’ve seen the aftermath of books like this before—most impactfully the ones published by Harry’s own parents.

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In Princess Diana’s case, her assistance with Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story in 1992 (which was only revealed after her death in 1997) expedited the path to her separation from Prince Charles, a situation that was worsened still by her sit-down with the BBC’s Martin Bashir for their Panorama program in 1995. Yes, that interview was obtained under false pretenses, but the consequences for truth-telling from Diana were severe—Queen Elizabeth mandated her divorce from Charles, she lost her royal security and found herself being aggressively pursued by paparazzi one fateful night in a Paris tunnel, which ultimately cost her her life.

Charles’s own royal tell-all, the result of a sit-down with journalist Jonathan Dimbleby in 1994, had its own—but decidedly less devastating—result. His candor about his affair with Camilla was received poorly (duh) and, as Harry confirms in his book, resulted in decades of public image rehabilitation, often at the sacrifice of other family members. Now, as king, Charles continues to have to prove himself worthy of the throne.

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All that said, Harry is in a unique position as he charts his post-memoir path. He lives in California now with his wife Meghan Markle and their babies Archie and Lili. He’s still in line to the throne, but with no real impact ever since William and Kate had kids. For all intents and purposes (and as illustrated visually in the docuseries), royal life is in the rear-view mirror. Or is it?

In his TV sit-down with Strahan, Harry made it clear to that he still very much believes in the monarchy, adding that there’s absolutely a place for it in the 21st century as long as it modernizes. (His assertion is that they’ve got quite a bit of work to do when it comes to their unconscious bias, although he did questionably walk back his comments about racism in regard to Archie’s skin tone.)

Then, an even bigger reveal in his chat with Bradby: Yes, he wants accountability from his family, but ultimately reconciliation. That in itself, Harry said, “would be wonderful for us, but it would be fantastic for them as well.” An olive branch? Harry keeping his royal options open with a veiled reminder of the benefits to both sides? Reading between the lines, I’d say the palace doors haven’t slammed shut…yet.

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How his family receives the book will likely be what charts his future path. So far, the verdict has been silence, although there have been a handful of stories citing unconfirmed royal sources popping up—exactly what Harry rails against in his book. Given the deeply personal nature of his revelations, forgiveness feels a long way off. (Reminder: Charles, William and Kate aren’t in a position to go on the record to share their perspective.) Still, his invitation to the coronation has yet to be publicly rescinded.

One of Harry’s claims is that his family never bothered to listen to his perspective on the treatment of his wife and son ahead of his exit in January 2020. Post-memoir, I’d like to think they’re listening now. The coming months provide plenty of opportunity for outreach and work to be done.

Critics of Harry say that he’s trying to have his cake and eat it, too—he can’t reap the benefits and privileges of his royal title and simultaneously tear the monarchy down.

That’s where the question remains: Will the publication of Harry’s memoir be the end of the royal revelations and a true (and private) opportunity for healing to begin? Will the Sussexes focus on their work and the path forward—things like Meghan’s podcast Archetypes or Harry’s upcoming Netflix docuseries, Heart of Invictus, about the Invictus Games? Royal time will tell. (It is worth mentioning that Spare is reported to be part of a four-book deal with Penguin Random House.)

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In the meantime, I’ll continue to root for him and his family, both immediate and extended, but also to stay optimistic that Harry can achieve the one thing he says—much like his mother Diana—he so desperately craves: peace.

The Biggest Takeaway from Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ Interviews, According to Our Royal Expert

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...