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Unabridged — 15 hours, 39 minutes

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Notes From Your Bookseller

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex — frank with no holds barred— tells his own story of childhood, family, military life and marriage. You may think you know what Harry has to say; we have a hunch you’ll be floored by the read.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ¿ Discover the global phenomenon that tells an unforgettable story of love, loss, and healing.

“Compellingly artful . . . [a] blockbuster memoir.”-The New Yorker (Best Books of the Year)

It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking*behind their mother's coffin as the world watched in sorrow-and horror. As Princess Diana was laid to*rest, billions wondered what Prince William and Prince Harry must be thinking and feeling-and how*their lives would play out from that point on.

For Harry, this is that story at last.

Before losing his mother, twelve-year-old Prince Harry was known as the carefree one, the happy-go-lucky Spare to the more serious Heir. Grief changed everything. He struggled at school, struggled with*anger, with loneliness-and, because he blamed the press for his mother's death, he struggled to accept*life in the spotlight.

At twenty-one, he joined the British Army. The discipline gave him structure, and two combat tours made*him a hero at home. But he soon felt more lost than ever, suffering from post-traumatic stress and prone*to crippling panic attacks. Above all, he couldn't find true love.*

Then he met Meghan. The world was swept away by the couple's cinematic romance and rejoiced in their*fairy-tale wedding. But from the beginning, Harry and Meghan were preyed upon by the press, subjected*to waves of abuse, racism, and lies. Watching his wife suffer, their safety and mental health at risk, Harry*saw no other way to prevent the tragedy of history repeating itself but to flee his mother country. Over the*centuries, leaving the Royal Family was an act few had dared. The last to try, in fact, had been his mother.*. . .

For the first time, Prince Harry tells his own story, chronicling his journey with raw, unflinching honesty.*A landmark publication, Spare is full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom*about the eternal power of love over grief.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Sibling rivalry, fatherly neglect, and the crushing weight of public opinion haunt this anguished, searching, and occasionally vindictive memoir from Prince Harry. Framing the narrative as an attempt to explain why he and his wife, Meghan Markle, fled the U.K. “in fear for our sanity and physical safety” in 2020, Harry begins with Princess Diana’s death in 1997, recounting how he and his brother William were made to walk behind their mother’s coffin “to garner sympathy.” For years afterward, Harry harbored a belief that Diana had disappeared to escape the paparazzi—an illusion that enabled him “to postpone the bulk of my grief.” Made to feel like a “nullity” by his family, he found solace and companionship on safari trips to Africa and boozy nights with friends, but the tabloids turned “basic teenage stuff” into allegations of drug addiction and his father chose “to play ball” rather than fight back. Time and time again, the twin pressures of the royal family and the British media scuttled Harry’s search for meaning and purpose, leaving him beset by panic attacks and self-doubt, until he met Meghan—and then those same specters turned on her. The mix of dirty laundry and earnest soul-baring sometimes jars, but Harry’s frustrations are deeply felt and authentically conveyed, as is the joy he takes in nature and in his friendships. This royal family tell-all delivers. (Jan.)

From the Publisher

Unflinching, introspective, and well-written.”Time

“Compellingly artful . . . [a] blockbuster memoir.”The New Yorker

“A scorching account of life in a golden cage.”The Atlantic

Library Journal

★ 02/24/2023

Prince Harry, the youngest son of King Charles and the late iconic Diana, Princess of Wales, talks about the highlights and lowest moments of his life, from the time of his mother's tragic death and his military service to his meeting and marrying Meghan Markle. He says he was attracted to her view that life is a grand adventure, and he wanted to go on that journey with her. He also talks about their two children and shares that he and Meghan feared for their safety and their own sanity. That's one reason they left England and the working royal life, settling in Montecito, CA, at a home actor/writer/director Tyler Perry owned and offered. Another reason they fled is due to racist and misogynistic attacks against Meghan from the media and from his brother and sister-in-law, he says. The book details the rift, including alleged physical and emotional assaults, that led to the estranged relationships he now has with his father, his stepmother, his brother, and sister-in-law. The book also covers the Queen's death and funeral service. VERDICT Highly recommended for those who are curious about what happens behind the scenes of a royal family. This is a vivid and intriguing account.—Lucy Heckman

JANUARY 2023 - AudioFile

Stifled by protocol his entire life, Prince Harry has a lot to say as he addresses rumors and lies in his memoir. His narrative style reflects a strong reserve of emotions, and his performance remains at an emotional distance for most of the sixteen-hour audiobook. His voice is clear and his tone steady, for the most part. Occasionally, such as when he discusses his military service in Afghanistan, his fear and anger come through, and when he recounts his confrontation with his brother, William, his pace quickens. Even while expressing his deep love for Meghan and his young family, he’s still reserved. Harry’s fascinating journey doesn’t disappoint, and this audiobook provides glimpses of the many emotions that lie beneath his seemingly relaxed, reserved exterior. A.L.C. © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine

Kirkus Reviews

A royal tell-all with some substance.

Arriving at the end of the royal couple’s multimedia barrage that included a six-part Netflix documentary, Prince Harry’s eagerly anticipated memoir delivers further revelations about his struggles within the institution of the British monarchy and the unrelenting harassment he has endured from the British tabloids. The author also offers insights into his reported feuds with his brother, Prince William, and father, King Charles—most recently regarding his relationship with his wife, Meghan Markle. It may seem that Prince Harry has a particular ax to grind, and this notion intensifies as he recounts the events related to his courtship of Meghan. However, his story is more substantive than some readers might expect, depending on their loyalties to the monarchy. Beginning with memories of his mother’s tragic death in 1997, the author moves on to his lackluster schooling at Eton and his more remarkable career in the British Army (he served two combat tours in Afghanistan). The narrative frequently casts evocative light on the inner workings of the British monarchy and the various players involved. While his pen may be more harshly directed toward his father and brother than to others, such as Queen Elizabeth, the author also provides interesting glimpses into the likes of Prince Philip and Camilla, queen consort. If sometimes disparaging, his portraits are also surprisingly sympathetic. The prose is competent, and the author’s tales are consistently engaging—and far less smarmy than the self-aggrandizing tone set in the Netflix series. Readers may question Prince Harry’s motives, but his emotional struggles, though occasionally rendered in an overwrought fashion, feel palpable and heartfelt. “My problem has never been with the monarchy, nor the concept of monarchy,” he writes. “It’s been with the press and the sick relationship that’s evolved between it and the Palace. I love my Mother Country, and I love my family, and I always will.”

A harrowing, sporadically self-serving account of life in and away from the British monarchy.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176483123
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 01/10/2023
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 200,230

Read an Excerpt

We agreed to meet a few hours after the funeral. In the Frogmore gardens, by the old Gothic ruin. I got there first.

I looked around, saw no one.

I checked my phone. No texts, no voicemails.

They must be running late, I thought, leaning against the stone wall.

I put away my phone and told myself: Stay calm.

The weather was quintessentially April. Not quite winter, not yet spring. The trees were bare, but the air was soft. The sky was gray, but the tulips were popping. The light was pale, but the indigo lake, threading through the gardens, glowed.

How beautiful it all is, I thought. And also how sad.

Once upon a time, this was going to be my forever home. Instead it had proved to be just another brief stop.

When my wife and I fled this place, in fear for our sanity and physical safety, I wasn’t sure when I’d ever come back. That was January 2020. Now, fifteen months later, here I was, days after waking to thirty-two missed calls and then one short, heart-racing talk with Granny: Harry . . . Grandpa’s gone.

The wind picked up, turned colder. I hunched my shoulders, rubbed my arms, regretted the thinness of my white shirt. I wished I’d not changed out of my funeral suit. I wished I’d thought to bring a coat. I turned my back to the wind and saw, looming behind me, the Gothic ruin, which in reality was no more Gothic than the Millennium Wheel. Some clever architect, some bit of stagecraft. Like so much around here, I thought.

I moved from the stone wall to a small wooden bench. Sitting, I checked my phone again, peered up and down the garden path.

Where are they?

Another gust of wind. Funny, it reminded me of Grandpa. His wintry demeanor, maybe. Or his icy sense of humor. I recalled one particular shooting weekend years ago. A mate, just trying to make conversation, asked Grandpa what he thought of my new beard, which had been causing concern in the family and controversy in the press. Should the Queen Force Prince Harry to Shave? Grandpa looked at my mate, looked at my chin, broke into a devilish grin. THAT’S no beard!

Everyone laughed. To beard or not to beard, that was the question, but leave it to Grandpa to demand more beard. Let grow the luxurious bristles of a bloody Viking!

I thought of Grandpa’s strong opinions, his many passions—carriage driving, barbecuing, shooting, food, beer. The way he embraced life. He had that in common with my mother. Maybe that was why he’d been such a fan. Long before she was Princess Diana, back when she was simply Diana Spencer, kindergarten teacher, secret girlfriend of Prince Charles, my grandfather was her loudest advocate. Some said he actually brokered my parents’ marriage. If so, an argument could be made that Grandpa was the Prime Cause in my world. But for him, I wouldn’t be here.

Neither would my older brother.

Then again, maybe our mother would be here. If she hadn’t married Pa . . .

I recalled one recent chat, just me and Grandpa, not long after he’d turned ninety-seven. He was thinking about the end. He was no longer capable of pursuing his passions, he said. And yet the thing he missed most was work. Without work, he said, everything crumbles. He didn’t seem sad, just ready. You have to know when it’s time to go, Harry.

I glanced now into the distance, towards the mini skyline of crypts and monuments alongside Frogmore. The Royal Burial Ground. Final resting place for so many of us, including Queen Victoria. Also, the notorious Wallis Simpson. Also, her doubly notorious husband Edward, the former King and my great-great-uncle. After Edward gave up his throne for Wallis, after they fled Britain, both of them fretted about their ultimate return—both obsessed about being buried right here. The Queen, my grandmother, granted their plea. But she placed them at a distance from everyone else, beneath a stooped plane tree. One last finger wag, perhaps. One final exile, maybe. I wondered how Wallis and Edward felt now about all their fretting. Did any of it matter in the end? I wondered if they wondered at all. Were they floating in some airy realm, still mulling their choices, or were they Nowhere, thinking Nothing? Could there really be Nothing after this? Does consciousness, like time, have a stop? Or maybe, I thought, just maybe, they’re here right now, next to the fake Gothic ruin, or next to me, eavesdropping on my thoughts. And if so . . . maybe my mother is too?

The thought of her, as always, gave me a jolt of hope, and a burst of energy.

And a stab of sorrow.

I missed my mother every day, but that day, on the verge of that nerve racking rendezvous at Frogmore, I found myself longing for her, and I couldn’t say just why. Like so much about her, it was hard to put into words.

Although my mother was a princess, named after a goddess, both those terms always felt weak, inadequate. People routinely compared her to icons and saints, from Nelson Mandela to Mother Teresa to Joan of Arc, but every such comparison, while lofty and loving, also felt wide of the mark. The most recognizable woman on the planet, one of the most beloved, my mother was simply indescribable, that was the plain truth. And yet . . . how could someone so far beyond everyday language remain so real, so palpably present, so exquisitely vivid in my mind? How was it possible that I could see her, clear as the swan skimming towards me on that indigo lake? How could I hear her laughter, loud as the songbirds in the bare trees—still? There was so much I didn’t remember, because I was so young when she died, but the greater miracle was all that I did. Her devastating smile, her vulnerable eyes, her childlike love of movies and music and clothes and sweets—and us. Oh how she loved my brother and me. Obsessively, she once confessed to an interviewer.

Well, Mummy . . . vice versa.

Maybe she was omnipresent for the very same reason that she was indescribable—because she was light, pure and radiant light, and how can you really describe light? Even Einstein struggled with that one. Recently, astronomers rearranged their biggest telescopes, aimed them at one tiny crevice in the cosmos, and managed to catch a glimpse of one breathtaking sphere, which they named Earendel, the Old English word for Morning Star. Billions of miles off, and probably long vanished, Earendel is closer to the Big Bang, the moment of Creation, than our own Milky Way, and yet it’s somehow still visible to mortal eyes because it’s just so awesomely bright and dazzling.

That was my mother.

That was why I could see her, sense her, always, but especially that April afternoon at Frogmore.

That—and the fact that I was carrying her flag. I’d come to those gardens because I wanted peace. I wanted it more than anything. I wanted it for my family’s sake, and for my own—but also for hers.

People forget how much my mother strove for peace. She circled the globe many times over, traipsed through minefields, cuddled AIDS patients, consoled war orphans, always working to bring peace to someone somewhere, and I knew how desperately she would want—no, did want—peace between her boys, and between us two and Pa. And among the whole family.

For months the Windsors had been at war. There had been strife in our ranks, off and on, going back centuries, but this was different. This was a fullscale public rupture, and it threatened to become irreparable. So, though I’d flown home specifically and solely for Grandpa’s funeral, while there I’d asked for this secret meeting with my older brother, Willy, and my father to talk about the state of things.

To find a way out.

But now I looked once more at my phone and once more up and down the garden path and I thought: Maybe they’ve changed their minds. Maybe they’re not going to come.

For half a second I considered giving up, going for a walk through the gardens by myself or heading back to the house where all my cousins were drinking and sharing stories of Grandpa.

Then, at last, I saw them. Shoulder to shoulder, striding towards me, they looked grim, almost menacing. More, they looked tightly aligned. My stomach dropped. Normally they’d be squabbling about one thing or another, but now they appeared to be in lockstep—in league.

The thought occurred: Hang on, are we meeting for a walk . . . or a duel?

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