Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare,” released this week, is 407 pages of extraordinary detail, offering an intimate look at royal life ― plus numerous unsparing mentions of the Duke of Sussex’s, uh, “willy,” which is also his nickname for his brother.
While the tome is a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in the royal family, we’ve rounded up 59 revelations from the book for you to devour ― you know, just in case your preorder is delayed or you wanted even more juicy details after combing through 34 of the royal’s biggest bombshells from his media appearances.
Read on for stories from “Spare” that made major headlines, as well as smaller anecdotes that fascinated us (like King Charles traveling with his “teddy”).
Yes, Prince Harry really quotes BrainyQuote.com
Harry quotes a famous William Faulkner line to start off the book: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” He later explains how he found the quote: “When I discovered that quotation not long ago on BrainyQuote.com, I was thunderstruck. I thought, Who the fook is Faulkner? And how’s he related to us Windsors?”
Harry references Prince William’s “alarming baldness” early in the book
“I looked at Willy, really looked at him, maybe for the first time since we were boys. I took it all in: his familiar scowl, which had always been his default in dealings with me; his alarming baldness, more advanced than my own; his famous resemblance to Mummy, which was fading with time. With age.”
Harry’s face was once shoved in a deer carcass
After the Duke of Sussex killed his first deer, his hunting guide instructed him to kneel before the carcass. Harry thought they “were going to pray.” Instead, he writes, the guide “pushed my head inside the carcass.” When Harry tried to pull away, his guide “pushed me deeper.”
“After a minute I couldn’t smell anything, because I couldn’t breathe. My nose and mouth were full of blood, guts, and a deep, upsetting warmth.”
Harry confirms that he’s circumcised
“My penis was a matter of public record, and indeed some public curiosity. The press had written about it extensively. There were countless stories in books, and papers (even The New York Times) about Willy and me not being circumcised. Mummy had forbidden it, they all said, and while it’s absolutely true that the chance of getting penile frostbite is much greater if you’re not circumcised, all the stories were false. I was snipped as a baby.”
Harry used a custom “cock cushion” during one very cold expedition
After enduring a frostbitten “todger” during his trip to the North Pole, Harry writes that for his trip to the South Pole he’d “know how to take proper precautions ― snugger underwear, more padding, etc. Better yet, one very close mate hired a seamstress to make me a bespoke cock cushion. Square, supportive, it was sewn from pieces of the softest fleece and … Enough said.”
Harry says people bathed him and his classmates at their private school
The Duke of Sussex attended Ludgrove, an exclusive school, when he was younger. He offers a behind-the-scenes look at its attendees and “matrons” ― aka “Mums-Away-From-Mums” ― who woke the boys up most mornings, showered them with affection, helped them with injuries and even, uh, washed them.
“Three times a week, after dinner, the matrons would assist the youngest boys with the nightly wash. I can still see the long row of white baths, each with a boy reclining like a little pharaoh, awaiting his personalized hair-washing … After shampooing a boy the matrons would ease back his head, give him a slow and luxurious rinse. Confusing as hell.”
Harry recounts putting lotion on his frostbitten “todger,” using the same cream his mom once used as a lip balm
“My penis was oscillating between extremely sensitive and borderline traumatized. The last place I wanted to be was Frostnipistan,” Harry writes. A friend recommended a remedy:
“She’d urged me to apply Elizabeth Arden cream.
“My mum used to use that on her lips. You want me to put that on my todger.”
“It works, Harry. Trust me.”
“I found a tube, and the minute I opened it the smell transported me through time.
“I felt as if my mother was right there in the room. Then I took a smidge and applied it … down there. ‘Weird’ doesn’t really do the feeling justice.”
King Charles carries a teddy bear with him everywhere, for a heartbreaking reason
Harry says that his father, King Charles, carries a teddy bear with him after being bullied so badly as a child he “nearly didn’t survive.”
“How had he?” Harry questions. “Head down, clutching his teddy bear, which he still owned years later. Teddy went everywhere with Pa. It was a pitiful object, with broken arms and dangly threads, holes patched up here and there. It looked, I imagined, like Pa might have after the bullies had finished with him. Teddy expressed eloquently, better than Pa ever could, the essential loneliness of his childhood.”
Harry says Will never told him he was proposing to Kate
Harry claims he didn’t know William had proposed to Kate Middleton until a palace announcement was made, calling it “news to me.” He also shot down claims that he gave William their mother’s engagement ring, saying it “wasn’t mine to give.”
“He’d already had it. He’d asked for it after Mummy died, and I’d been more than happy to let it go.”
Harry says he’d never hugged Queen Elizabeth
“I wanted to hug her, though of course I didn’t,” Harry writes, recalling sitting at a Jubilee event with his grandmother. “I never had done and couldn’t imagine any circumstance under which such an act might be sanctioned.”
Charles does headstands in his boxers to relieve chronic back and neck pain
Harry said his dad performed such headstands “daily, in just a pair of boxers, propped against a door or hanging from a bar like a skilled acrobat. If you set one little finger on the knob you’d hear him begging from the other side: No! No! Don’t open! Please god don’t open!”
Harry says it was “a bare-faced lie” that he was William’s best man, or that William was his
“The public had been told that I was to be best man, but that was a bare-faced lie. The public expected me to be best man, and thus the Palace saw no choice but to say that I was. In truth, Willy didn’t want me giving a best-man speech. He didn’t think it safe to hand me a live mic and put me in a position to go off script. I might say something wildly inappropriate. He wasn’t wrong.”
Harry and William were told to bow to a statue of Queen Victoria at one of the queen’s residences
Harry writes, “I always bowed to her as I passed. Your Majesty! Willy did too. We’d been told to, but I have done it anyway.”
Harry wanted to work at a ski resort after his schooling
“Specifically, I wanted to work at the fondue hut in the center of town, which Mummy loved. That fondue could change your life. (I was really that mad.) But now I told Pa I’d given up the fondue fantasy, and he sighed with relief. Instead I was taken with notions of becoming a ski instructor…
“Pa tensed again. Out of the question.”
Elizabeth had a piper wake her up in the morning at Balmoral
In his book, Harry writes that while his granny was staying at her Balmoral residence, she had a piper “play her awake and play her to dinner.” Also, he says that sheets, blankets and quilts were “stamped with ER, Elizabeth Regina.” (“Regina” is Latin for “queen.”)
Charles wears the Dior cologne “Eau Sauvage”
Harry writes of his father’s aroma: “It was hard to smell anything over his personal scent. Eau Sauvage. He’d slather the stuff on his cheeks, his neck, his shirt. Flowery, with a hint of something harsh, like pepper or gunpowder, it was made in Paris.”
He and William talked about the car crash that killed their mother “for the first time ever” 10 years after it happened
The Duke of Sussex writes about going through the same tunnel his mom died in when he was in Paris in 2007.
“I rang Willy, told him about my night. None of it came as news to him. Turns out, he’d driven the tunnel too. He was coming to Paris for the rugby final. We decided to do it together. Afterwards, we talked about the crash, for the first time ever.”
Harry says he’s “drunk booze out of multiple prosthetic legs in my life and I can’t swear that was one of the times”
This comes from an account of his 2013 trip to the South Pole, where he was also given a souvenir beaker of the “cleanest air in the world.”
The prince reveals how he grocery shops
“I’d arrive at different times, randomly, to throw off the press. I’d wear a disguise: low baseball cap, loose coat. I’d run along the aisles at warp speed, grabbing the salmon fillets I liked, the brand of yogurt I liked. (I’d memorized a map of the store.) Plus a few Granny Smith apples and bananas. And, of course, some crisps. Then I’d sprint to the checkout.”
Harry shops at TK Maxx (the U.K.’s version of TJ Maxx)
“For my everyday casual clothes, I’d go to T.K. Maxx, the discount store. I was particularly fond of their once-a-year sale, when they’d be flush with items from Gap or J.Crew, items that had just gone out of season or were slightly damaged.”
Harry says he talked to a toilet at Courteney Cox’s house while on mushrooms
“I stepped on the pedal and the head opened its mouth. A huge open grin. I laughed, turned away, took a piss. Now the loo became a head too. The bowl was its gaping maw, the hinges of the seat were its piercing silver eyes. It said: Aaah.”
Harry peed his pants on a boat while he was dating Meghan Markle
“I swung my body over the side, into the tossing sea… and still couldn’t pee, mainly thanks to stage fright. The whole crew looking. Finally I went back to my post, sheepishly hung from the ropes, and peed my pants. Wow, I thought, if Ms. Markle could see me now.”
The Duke of Sussex says William and Kate were huge fans of “Suits” before meeting Meghan
When Harry told his brother and sister-in-law who he was dating, he writes, “their mouths fell open. They turned to each other.”
“Fuck off!” Harry says his brother exclaimed. “I was baffled, until Willy and Kate explained that they were regular ― nay, religious ― viewers of Suits.”
William “recoiled” when Meghan hugged him the first time they met
“I introduced him to Meg, who leaned in and gave him a hug, which completely freaked him out. He recoiled. Willy didn’t hug many strangers,” Harry writes. “Meg hugged most strangers.”
Harry once borrowed Tom Hardy’s costume from “Mad Max” for an “apocalypse”-themed party
“For help with my costume, I’d turned to a friend, the actor Tom Hardy, before I left home. I’d phoned him to ask if I could borrow his costume from Mad Max.
“The whole thing?”
“Yes please, mate! The whole kit.”
Harry taught his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother, a Sacha Baron Cohen impression
The Duke of Sussex recalled one night with his “Gan-Gan,” telling her “all about Ali G, the character played by Sacha Baron Cohen. I taught her to say Booyakasha, showing her how to flick her fingers the way Sacha did. She couldn’t grasp it, she had no idea what I was talking about, but she had such fun trying to flick and say the word.”
Harry becomes first royal to publicly mention Prince Andrew’s sexual assault accusations
The duke writes that Meghan asked him if their security would be pulled after the two stepped back as working royals. Harry says no, especially “in the wake of my Uncle Andrew. He was embroiled in a shameful scandal, accused of the sexual assault of a young woman, and no one had so much as suggested that he lose his security. Whatever grievances people had against us, sex crimes weren’t on the list.”
Harry explains the “Heir and the Spare” dynamic
“I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy,” Harry writes. “I was summoned to provide backup, distraction, diversion and, if necessary, a spare part. Kidney, perhaps. Blood transfusion. Speck of bone marrow. This was all made explicitly clear to me from the start of life’s journey and regularly reinforced thereafter.”
Harry says he and William “always wore seatbelts after Mummy’s disappearance.”
Harry and William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in 1997, when the boys were 12 and 15, respectively.
Harry feels especially close to the character Stewie Griffin from “Family Guy”
“I felt an inexplicable bond with Stewie, prophet without honor.”
He says he didn’t know his aunt, Princess Margaret, whom he called “Aunt Margo”
“We spent the biggest holidays together, and yet she was almost a total stranger… Growing up, I felt nothing for her, except a bit of pity and a lot of jumpiness.”
When they were still keeping their relationship a secret, Harry and Meghan disguised themselves to go to the grocery store together. Apparently, Harry had to find the parchment paper. “I texted her: What the F is parchment paper? She talked me onto the target.”
Prince Andrew… the purse holder?
Meghan has spoken about how she didn’t know much about the royal family, and indeed, Harry writes that she didn’t recognize Prince Andrew when she first met him. “After a moment Meg asked me something about the Queen’s assistant. I asked who she was talking about. That man holding the purse…” he writes. “That was her second son. Andrew.”
Meeting Meghan’s mom at a tense time
Harry met Doria Ragland for the first time right after The Sun published a headline, “Harry’s girl on Pornhub,” with images of Meghan from “Suits.” “We’d fought it, filed a formal complaint, but thankfully the subject didn’t come up that night over dinner.”
Harry and Meghan share a favorite food
The couple’s favorite food is roast chicken, and Meghan taught Harry how to cook it. “I remember the warmth of the kitchen, the wonderful smells. Lemon wedges on the cutting board, garlic and rosemary, gravy bubbling in a saucepan.”
Meghan urged Harry to try therapy again
After Harry snapped at Meghan one night, she said “she would never stand for being spoken to like that.” “She wasn’t going to tolerate that kind of partner. Or co-parent. That kind of life.” Harry told her he’d tried therapy, but it didn’t work. She told him to try again.
How therapy helped Harry remember his mother
Harry mentions that he always thought his memory was dead, but through therapy, he started remembering so many moments with Diana. When he brought a bottle of his mother’s perfume to therapy — First, by Van Cleef & Arpels — he unlocked even more moments. “A thousand images returned, some so bright and vivid that they were like holograms.”
Harry offers some wise travel advice
Harry told Meghan not to pose in front of the Taj Mahal because there was an iconic photo of Princess Diana there, and he didn’t want people thinking she was trying to imitate his mom. “Meg had never heard of this photo, and found the whole thing baffling, and I loved her for being baffled.”
A two-week proposal secret
Harry proposed to Meghan on Nov. 4, 2017, and they kept it a secret for two weeks. Meghan was so enthralled by the romantic moment, Harry writes, that she didn’t even think to look at the ring.
The beard that made William bark
William got in a fight with Harry because Harry wasn’t going to shave his beard for his wedding. According to the Duke of Sussex, William was also mad that Harry would get to wear his military uniform. William was denied these opportunities. “When I informed him that his opinion didn’t really matter since I’d already gone to Granny and got the green light, he became livid.”
The tabloids lied about Meghan’s security
Meghan wasn’t given security training, despite tabloid reports to the contrary. In fact, the palace almost didn’t give her security at all because Harry was sixth in line to the throne. “How I wished reports about Special Forces were even partly true,” he writes.
A personal letter with good intentions gone wrong
Making appearances even during the darkest moments
The queen and Prince Charles encouraged Meghan to write a note to her father, which was then edited and published in the Daily Mail. Meghan was trying to find a way to get her father, Thomas Markle, to stop talking to the press. Ultimately, it backfired.
One evening in 2019, Meghan expressed suicidal thoughts to Harry. The couple were expected to attend an engagement for Harry’s Sentebale charity that night. Harry told Meghan she should skip the event, and that he would make an appearance and return home quickly. But Meghan insisted on going. “Incredibly, while reassuring her, and hugging her, I couldn’t entirely stop thinking like a fucking royal,” he writes.
Time to take action against the tabloids
In September 2019, the Sussexes felt they had no choice but to sue three British tabloids: “The lawsuit wasn’t covered as widely as, say, Meg’s daring to shut her own car door. In fact, it was barely covered at all.” William and Charles were staunchly against the lawsuit.
A royal knock-out between the brothers
Harry alleged that William physically attacked him in 2019. In “Spare,” Harry writes that the fight “all happened so fast. So very fast.”
Harry claims William called Meghan “difficult,” “rude” and “abrasive,” which set the two off on a screaming match. William allegedly began swearing and calling his brother names. Then, Harry writes, he “grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace and he knocked me to the floor.”
“I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out.”
Harry told his therapist about the fight before he told Meghan
The duke says William told him he didn’t need to tell Meghan about the confrontation. Harry writes that he told his therapist first, and Meghan later noticed the scrapes and bruises on his back.
“She was terribly sad,” Harry writes, but she “wasn’t that surprised and wasn’t all that angry.”
The brothers call each other “Willy” and “Harold”
In fact, Harry has a lot of nicknames, including H, Haz, Hazza and Spike, among others.
Charles asked Harry and William not to “make my final years a misery”
In 2021, Charles pleaded with the brothers to stop fighting at Windsor after Prince Philip’s funeral, raising his hands and saying “Enough!”
In a tense meeting, a grieving Charles told his sons: “Please, boys ― Don’t make my final years a misery.” Harry writes that his father’s voice “sounded raspy, fragile. It sounded, if I’m being honest, old.”
Charles expressed delight at Diana giving birth to a “spare”
Harry tells how, after he was born, his father supposedly told the Princess of Wales: “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an Heir and a Spare ― my work is done.”
It was, Harry writes, “a joke. Presumably. On the other hand, minutes after delivering this bit of high comedy, Pa was said to have gone off to meet with his girlfriend. So. Many a true word spoke in jest.”
Harry and William “begged” Charles not to marry Camilla
Harry claims that he and William told Charles they would welcome the now-Queen Consort into the family on the condition he did not marry her, and “begged” him not to do so. The duke says his father did not respond to their pleas.
Apparently, three Cs could lead to confusion
Charles and Camilla suggested Kate change the spelling of her given name, Catherine, to “Katherine” instead, because there were already two royal cyphers with a C and a crown above them. “It would be too confusing to have another,” he wrote. “Make it Katherine with a K, they suggested.”
Harry killed 25 people while serving in Afghanistan
The Telegraph, which obtained a Spanish-language copy of “Spare” from a bookshop in Spain, was among the first to report that Harry said flying six missions during his second tour of duty on the front line resulted in “the taking of human life” of which he was neither proud nor ashamed.
“So, my number: Twenty-five. It wasn’t a number that gave me any satisfaction. But neither was it a number that made me feel ashamed,” he wrote.
Harry claims a woman passed on a message from his mother’s spirit
The duke said the woman, who “claimed to have ‘powers,’” was strongly recommended by friends. Harry said that he “felt an energy around” the woman when he sat down with her. She said that Diana was “with” him, and that Diana knew Harry was “looking for clarity” and she felt his confusion.
She told him that Diana felt he was “living the life she couldn’t,” and he was “living the life she wanted for you.”
Harry writes that the woman also mentioned a Christmas ornament that had broken, which Harry said his son, Archie, had tried to fix. “Your mother said she had a bit of a giggle about that,” the woman said.
Harry asked a driver to replicate the journey Diana took in Paris before her death
While in Paris for the 2007 Rugby World Cup semifinal, Harry, who was 23, was driven through the Pont de l’Alma tunnel at the same speed as the car that was carrying Diana and Dodi Fayed when it crashed in August 1997.
When he later told William about the incident, his brother revealed he’d driven it too. The two later drove it together when William came to Paris for the rugby final.
Harry wanted the Diana inquiry reopened
Harry says both he and his brother “were talked out” of calling for a reinvestigation into their mother’s death “by the powers that be.” He adds that he and William felt the final written report on Diana’s death was an “insult” and “riddled with basic factual errors and gaping logical holes.”
“It raised more questions than it answered,” Harry writes.
Harry lost his virginity behind a pub
The royal called his 2001 tryst “an inglorious episode, with an older woman.”
“She liked horses, quite a lot and… treated me not unlike a young stallion,” he wrote. “Quick ride, after which she’d smacked my rump and sent me off to graze. Among the many things about it that were wrong: It happened in a grassy field behind a busy pub.”
Meghan Markle’s “baby brain” comment to Kate
The Duchess of Sussex said her sister-in-law had “baby brain,” a colloquial term referring to the “memory problems, poor concentration and absent-mindedness” that some people experience during pregnancy and just after giving birth.
Meghan, Harry, William and Kate all went to afternoon tea in June 2018 in Kensington Palace to try and repair their relationship, when the comment came up.
“You hurt my feelings, Meghan,” Kate said, before recalling a phone call where Meghan mentioned the phrase.
“Oh yes, I remember: You couldn’t remember something, and I said it’s not a big deal, it’s baby brain. Because you’d just had a baby. It’s hormones.”
Kate replied: “We’re not close enough for you to talk about my hormones.”
Meghan was reportedly confused by Kate’s response, as that kind of remark is how she spoke with her girlfriends.
Harry writes that William then pointed at Meghan and said that such a “rude” comment was “not what’s done here in Britain,” to which the duchess replied: “Kindly take your finger out of my face.”
Tyler Perry to the rescue
Actor-director-producer Tyler Perry let Harry and Meghan stay in his home in Los Angeles at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because his mother loved Princess Diana: “After your mother visited Harlem, that was it. She could do no wrong in Maxine Perry’s book.” The couple had been facing mounting issues with their own safety.
Yet more details about Princess Charlotte’s dress…
Ahead of Harry and Meghan’s 2018 wedding, Kate texted Meghan about a “problem” with Princess Charlotte’s dress, claiming it was “too big, long and baggy.” Kate said her 3-year-old daughter “burst into tears when she tried it on.”
Meghan suggested a tailor at Kensington Palace was on hand to make alterations, but Kate said the dress needed to be completely remade just four days before the wedding.
Kate did eventually take her daughter to get her dress altered by the tailor, but Harry said he found his then-fiancée “on the floor” in tears. Kate apologized the next day with flowers and a card.
If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also get support via text by visiting suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.
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