oh brother Harry’s Complete Story of Trauma, Feuds and Dysfunctions

Harry acknowledges that there was resistance to the war, that thousands of lives were lost, but it never seems to have crossed his mind to imagine what the war was like for the Afghans, or understand why there was support gave to the Taliban. Enough, it seems, to argue, “These were bad people doing bad things to our boys. do evil to the world.”

The trauma of Diana’s death haunts the book, and Harry tried for years to convince himself that she hadn’t died, just disappeared to escape the ever-present paparazzi. One of the most honest moments in spare part comes as he reflects that his urge to mow down Taliban insurgents may reflect his desire to get revenge on the media who hunted Diana to her death.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, view the floral tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, view the floral tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle.Credit:AP

Despite his self-imposed exile, Harry still believes in the monarchy, although he acknowledges that “no one wants to hear a prince argue for its existence”. As he approached his 30s, he felt increasing pressure to get married; as he writes, “The entire foundation of monarchy was based on marriage.” Royals have reluctantly adapted to marriage with the divorced and commoners; The next test could be a same-sex marriage.

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Harry was clearly in awe of his grandmother the Queen, albeit less of subsequent generations of royals. In his account of the current family, it is not Camilla, as might be expected, who is the least sympathetic, but William, and the tensions between the brothers run like an open wound through the book.

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Sibling rivalry is common, but there is little evidence that either brother can bend down enough to mend the rift. Harry may bring himself to bow to his father, but it is unlikely that he will ever bow to William. As with his great-great-uncle Edward VIII, his exile will likely be permanent. (At one point, Camilla, with a wry sense of history, suggested Harry could be made governor-general of Bermuda.)

There is a third way of reading spare part, and that is the closest thing to Harry’s intentions. His aversion to media intrusion dates back to childhood and was fueled by the paparazzi’s spooky mood at the death of his mother. It’s difficult to dismiss Harry’s denunciations of the “dweebs and crones and cheap criminals and clinically diagnosable sadists along Fleet Street” or his cold rage at Rupert Murdoch.

The racial abuse Meghan was subjected to was shameful and went well beyond anything “freedom of the press” should allow. The Palace’s failure to make it clear from the outset that this was unacceptable and to publicly show its support for Meghan is the most damaging legacy of this story. spare part appears just a few months before Harry’s father’s coronation.

Charles is also crowned King of Australia, although nothing in Harry’s book suggests that the royals see themselves as anything other than British. The strife and divisions within the royal family will do little to boost support for the monarchy here or in the other 14 countries that still hold the king as head of state.

Dennis Altman’s latest book, God Save the Queen: The Strange Persistence of Monarchiesis published by Scribe.

The Booklist is a weekly newsletter for book lovers from book editor Jason Steger. Get it delivered every Friday.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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