Harry wrote tell-all memoir because of ’38 years of spin and distortion’

The Duke of Sussex has said he wrote his tell-all book Spare because of “38 years… of spin and distortion” and has not written anything “scathing” about members of his family.

Harry claimed “planting and leaking” from other members of the royal family meant, in his mind, they had written “countless books” and “millions of words … dedicated to trying to trash my wife”.

The duke also said in an interview with Tom Bradby on ITV that there was a “horrible reaction” from his family members when the Queen died.

He said his brother “raised some concerns” about his marriage to Meghan Markle and of how his father the King blamed himself for his son’s struggles, telling him “I should have got you the help you needed years ago”.

He also asked Bradby whether he would like to talk about losing his own virginity, in an awkward exchange that follows revelations Harry made in his memoir about his wilder teenage years.

He said it was “heartbreaking” that he “simply didn’t believe” his brother when he said he wanted him to be happy and used the words “on mummy’s life” at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

A person at home in Edinburgh watching the Duke of Sussex interview
A person at home in Edinburgh watching the Duke of Sussex interview (Jane Barlow/PA)

In his book, Harry described the phrase as a “universal password” or a “secret code” between the pair, which he said they had used for 25 years “for when one of us needed to be heard”.

Harry also said the idea of him and his wife being the “fab four” with the Prince and Princess of Wales was “something the British press created” and it “creates competition”.

He said: “The idea of the four of us being together was always a hope for me.

“Before it was Meghan, whoever it was going to be, I always hoped that the four of us would get on.

“But, very quickly it became Meghan versus Kate.

“And that, when it plays out so publicly, you can’t hide from that, right?”

The duke said he did not believe the King or the Prince of Wales would read his book and did not know if they would watch the ITV interview.

Asked why he had written his memoir Spare, he told Bradby: “38 years. 38 years of having my story told by so many different people with intentional spin and distortion felt like a good time to own my story and be able to tell it for myself.

“You know, I don’t, I don’t think that if I was still part of the institution that I would have been given this chance to.

“So, I’m actually really grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to tell my story because it’s my story to tell.”

Speaking about whether he had criticised any member of his family in his book, he told Bradby: “There’s no part of any of the things that I’ve said are scathing towards any member of my family, especially not my stepmother.

“There are things that have happened that have been incredibly hurtful – some in the past, some current.

“No institution is immune to accountability or taking responsibility, so you can’t be immune to criticisms either.

Duke of Sussex memoir
The Duke of Sussex’s memoir is due to be released on Tuesday although excerpts from the book have been leaked (Penguin Random House/PA)

“I see a lack of scrutiny to my family towards a lot of the things that have happened in the last year.”

In other parts of Harry: The Interview the duke described feelings of guilt and telling Bradby he had cried only once after the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

The interview is the first of four broadcast appearances over the coming days, with the duke also speaking to Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes on CBS News on Sunday night, Michael Strahan of Good Morning America on Monday and Stephen Colbert on the Late Show on CBS on Wednesday morning UK time.

In the interview with Bradby, which aired on ITV at 9pm on Sunday, Harry spoke about being unable to show any emotion when meeting mourners following the death of his mother in 1997.

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He also admitted feeling “some guilt” when walking among the crowds gathered outside Kensington Palace, saying the only time he cried was at his mother’s burial.

A string of revelations have already been leaked from the memoir which is due to be published on Tuesday.

Harry has come under fire for some of the claims in the book, including that the Prince of Wales physically attacked him and called his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, “difficult” and “abrasive”.

The Sun has reported that as well as the first alleged physical attack by his brother in 2019, Harry also claims that a “steaming” and “shouting” William grabbed his shirt as the pair held peace talks with their father in the gardens of Frogmore Cottage in 2021.

Other controversial claims include that William and Kate encouraged him to wear the Nazi uniform that sparked outrage in 2005, and that he killed 25 Taliban while serving in Afghanistan.