Jan 10, 2023, 6:18am EST

How British media are reacting to Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’


Sign up for Semafor Flagship: A global, insightful daily briefing. Read it now.

Title icon

The News

Prince Harry’s hotly-anticipated memoir Spare hit shelves Tuesday, prompting midnight queues at London bookstores. The release follows several days of leaks about the book’s contents, and the accidental early sale of copies in Spain last week.

Copies of Britain's Prince Harry's autobiography 'Spare' are displayed at Waterstones bookstore, in London, Britain January 10, 2023.
REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Title icon

The Reviews

The Times

Labeling the book “perhaps the most hysterically anticipated memoir ever published,” The Times columnist James Marriott writes that, by Harry’s account, getting out of the royal family was like leaving a cult. On the book’s references to the sibling rivalry between Prince Harry and Prince William, Marriott says that “very often [Prince Harry] sounds like the irritating little brother from hell.”

The Spectator

Stating that the book ends “not with a bang, but with a whimper,” Alexander Larman, who writes for The Spectator’s U.S. edition, said Spare represents one of the Duke of Sussex's more interesting endeavors since he stepped down as a working royal in 2020. “Perhaps if it hadn’t been spoilt by the pre-publication leaks, it might have greater emotional and literary effect,” Larman said.

The Guardian

For The Guardian, Charlotte Higgins writes Spare is all at once “compassion-inducing, frustrating, oddly compelling and absurd.” Prince Harry’s fixation on some slights against him — a basement apartment at Kensington Palace, in one example — might read as insulting to those in the U.K. who cannot afford a home or heating, Higgins says. “What he shows, though — whether intentionally or not — is that the monarchy makes fools of us all.”