Prince Harry’s autobiography has become the fastest-selling nonfiction book in the United Kingdom. The memoir has sparked debate, with Harry alleging that Prince William physically assaulted him and accusing his father of prioritizing his own interests.
The Guardian polled readers, some of whom had already started reading the memoir, for their thoughts on the memoir and the publicity surrounding it. Many people said their attitudes toward the royal family had shifted, while others said it had strengthened their existing positions. Other readers noted that the book was more balanced than some media outlets had presented it.
Eight readers discuss how Spare has influenced their views on the family feud and the future of the royals as an institution.
‘I was raised a royalist but now regard the royal family as out of touch,’ says one.
I was raised as a royalist and simply accepted their role without question. I held the late queen in high regard and admired her sense of duty and public service.
However, I now sympathize much more with Harry and consider much of the press’s treatment of him and Meghan to be reprehensible and negatively biased. I found Jeremy Clarkson’s comments absolutely repugnant and filed a complaint with Ipso.
I thought [Harry and Meghan’s] relationship would usher in a new era. I am increasingly convinced that our country’s hereditary monarchy is out of touch and represents inequality of opportunity. Jane Popplewell, 60, works in adult social care in east Yorkshire.
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‘Harry now appears to be as entitled as the others.’
I used to dislike the royal family because I believe the United Kingdom should not be a monarchy. I was sympathetic to Harry and Meghan before the recent publicity, but now I am less so because I believe he exhibits the same level of entitlement as the other Windsor’s. His remarks about Africa are patronizing, and I don’t believe the taxpayer should foot the bill for his security while he is in the United States.
I feel sorry for Meghan and Camilla; I believe they are unfairly blamed for the family’s disintegration. Perhaps because they are “outsiders” and women. The monarchy is becoming a laughingstock, and I don’t see how it helps the UK’s image. Rachael, 34, of Oxford, is a copywriter.
‘It has humanized the royal family,’ says one.
The revelations in Harry’s book have humanized the royal family, demonstrating that even those at the top of society are affected by family drama and mental health issues.
I used to think of them as perfect and prestigious, but now that I think about it, they’re just a regular family with ordinary problems. We benefit from a more realistic depiction.
I’ve read most of the book – I believe this is the first time William’s reputation has been tarnished, but we haven’t heard his side of the story. I am concerned that Prince Harry and Meghan’s mental health will worsen. They claim they don’t want media attention, but this memoir will ensure that they are scrutinized for years to come. Habib Syed, a 22-year-old London student
‘The royals appear better than the media portrays them.’
I am a monarchist, preferring to keep the hereditary system with a royal figurehead over republicanism. When the publication date was announced, I preordered the book and began reading it in the early hours of January 10th, while on work breaks.
Despite the press hysteria, his father, King Charles, and wider family are described in far better terms in this narrative than in the general media. [Its emphasis has been] on the sensationalist “conflict” between the brothers, which is said to have been caused by Harry’s “resentment” at being the “spare” younger sibling, despite 411 pages of anecdotes from his entire life. I believe that much of the media has overlooked the fact that the book sales benefit charity. David, 51, of Hereford, works as an industrial cleaner.
‘I was previously neutral, but now I believe the royals must go.’
I had no prior knowledge of the royal family. The Spare news (which I have not read) appears to have confirmed what should have been obvious in retrospect: telling a specific family that they were chosen by God to rule over the rest of us is completely insane. It baffles me that the royal family is so popular among the English people.
I was previously undecided on the issue of republicanism, but now I’m certain: the royal family must go. Anyone defending the current disaster between the tabloids and the royals appears increasingly delusional and out of touch. Pratik Samant, 29, is an NHS radiotherapy physicist in Oxford.
‘I no longer support the royals, but Harry has revealed far too much,’ says one.
I used to be a staunch royalist who adored Diana and the queen, but after watching Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series, as well as the death of our beloved queen, I no longer support them. Meghan’s mother was very engaging and believable – she made it very clear what Meghan has been through. Seeing media stories side by side with Kate was also interesting.
I’m sorry for Harry; he seems to be stuck in the past and is still filled with rage. I’m about halfway through his book, and I’m finding it difficult to defend him any longer because he’s revealed far too many personal issues. There is no turning back now. I only hope he has a good time in America. Francesca, a project administrator from Hampshire, is 56 years old.
‘Their privileged lifestyle comes at a high price.’
I’ve long advocated for the abolition of the monarchy. There are numerous reasons why this would be a good idea, but one that has recently come to the forefront is the amount of harm done to members of the Windsor family.
What appears to be a privileged lifestyle for members of the royal family comes at the expense of their mental health. Three of the queen’s four children’s marriages have failed. The royal family’s private lives are constantly scrutinized, and members of the royal family find it difficult to express their own emotions.
They’re trapped – they’re being bullied by those who want a monarchy but don’t care about the people; I compare it to an abusive relationship. Peter Gray, 62, of Chesterfield, is now retired.
‘My opinion of Camilla has shifted.’
I don’t think I’ve ever thought of the royal family as a family, but rather as a collection of characters. But you’re looking at a family, and this stuff happens all the time. Having two boys myself, I am familiar with the hierarchy dynamic. The second son frequently feels cheated because he did not receive the same amount of attention as the first.
I was never a royalist, but I admired Meghan after seeing her on Suits. I’m not sure how she’s dealt with the constant barrage of negativity, lies, and vitriol.
Camilla’s recent publicity has changed my opinion of her; she seemed like a decent person, but having lunch with Piers Morgan was such a slap in the face. That’s when I realized I didn’t trust them. Pauline Killen, 55, is an IT project manager from Belfast.
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