LONDON (AP) – Prince Harry has defended his decision to publish a memoir exposing rifts within the British royal family, saying it was an attempt to “own my story” after being “filmed and snubbed” by others for 38 years had been distorted.
Harry spoke to Britain’s ITV network to promote his book, Spare, which has made inflammatory headlines with its details of private emotional turmoil and bitter family resentments.
In the interview, which aired on Sunday, Harry accused members of the royal family of “making bed with the devil” to get favorable tabloid coverage, claiming his stepmother Camilla, the queen consort, had private talks to the Media shared and said his family was “complicit” in his wife Meghan’s “pain and suffering”.
He also reiterated claims that there were “concerns” in the royal family about the skin color of his unborn child after marrying multiracial American actress Meghan Markle, and said the British monarchy should address their attitudes towards race.
Harry and Meghan first mentioned the incident during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. They have not identified the family member who raised the concern.
Harry said the episode was an example of unconscious bias rather than racism, adding that the royal family needs to “learn and grow” to be “part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
“Otherwise, unconscious bias moves into the category of racism,” Harry said. He said that “especially when you are the monarchy – you have a responsibility, and people rightly hold you to a higher standard than others.”
He said a recent incident in which a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II asked a black British woman where she was “really” from was “a very good example of the environment within the institution”.
“Spare” explores Harry’s grief over the death of his mother in 1997 and his long-simmering resentment over the role of royal “Spare” being overshadowed by the “heir” – older brother Prince William. He recounts altercations and a physical altercation with William, reveals how he lost his virginity (in a field), and describes cocaine and cannabis use.
He also says he killed 25 Taliban militants while serving as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan – a claim that has drawn criticism from both the Taliban and British military veterans.
Harry told ITV that he only cried once after his mother’s death – at her funeral. He said he felt guilty for not showing emotion as he and William greeted a crowd of mourners outside Kensington Palace, Diana’s London home.
In the book, Harry blames his family’s stiff-lipped ethos, saying he’s “learned too well…the family dictum that crying isn’t an option.” The Associated Press purchased a Spanish-language edition of the book ahead of its worldwide release on Tuesday.
“There were 50,000 bouquets for our mum and there we were smiling and shaking people’s hands,” Harry told ITV journalist Tom Bradby. “I saw the videos, right, I rewatched everything. And the wet hands we shook, we couldn’t understand why her hands were wet, but it was all the tears she wiped away.
“Everyone thought and felt as if they knew our mother and the two people closest to her, the two people she loved the most, couldn’t show emotion at that moment.”
“Spare” is the latest in a series of public statements by Harry and Meghan since they gave up royal life and moved to California in 2020, citing what they saw as racist treatment of Meghan by the media and a lack of support from the palace. It follows the Winfrey interview and a six-part Netflix documentary released last month.
In the ghostwriting memoir, Harry, 38, details the couple’s acrimonious split from the royal family in early 2020 after their bid for a part-time royal role was turned down.
Harry compares the couple’s deprivation of taxpayer-funded security to the case of his uncle Prince Andrew, who was sacked as working king for his friendship with US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Last year, Andrew settled a lawsuit brought by a woman who accused him of sexually abusing her while she was out with financier Epstein when she was 17. Andrew paid an undisclosed sum as part of the settlement but did not admit wrongdoing.
Harry claims that despite the “shameful scandal”, no one thought to remove Andrew’s security.
The ITV interview is one of several from Harry that will put more pressure on the royal family. He also appears on 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Royal officials have not commented on any of the allegations, although allies have largely anonymously denied the claims.
Veteran British journalist Jonathan Dimbleby, a biographer and friend of King Charles III, said on Saturday that Harry’s revelations were the kind “you would expect from some sort of B-list celebrity” and left the king distressed and frustrated would be you.
Harry told ITV that he would like a reconciliation with the royal family but “the ball is theirs”.
“They have shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile,” he said.
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