The UK media reacted swiftly to Prince Harry’s leaked memoir Spare, with headlines showing almost universal scorn or bewilderment.
As bombshell revelations from the accidental early release of the Prince’s eagerly awaited memoir are combed through, the tabloid press has plenty of fodder.
The most startling revelations in Spare include:
- Harry used cocaine and weed.
- A physical fight with William saw him pushed to the ground.
- He lost his virginity to an older woman behind a pub.
- He killed 25 Taliban fighters, seeing them not as people but as “chess pieces”.
- He and William begged Charles not to marry Camilla.
- Kate and William encouraged him to wear the infamous Nazi costume to a party.
The British press, which closely follows the ups and downs in the daily lives of the monarchy, had a field day.
The Duke of Sussex is described as a “grudge-toting man baby” in the right-wing Daily Mail, columnist Jan Moir saying the Prince had “thrown his toys out of the royal pram”.
The paper also runs the headline “Oh Spare Us” with an article about the astonishment at the revelation Harry killed 25 Taliban fighters.
Inside the paper are 17 pages dedicated to all the top “truth bombs” the Prince has dropped on the palace.
These include all the details in the book about Meghan’s bust-up with Kate, an assault on Harry by William, how the Princes begged their father not to marry Camilla and the effect “emotionally stunted” father Charles had on the young prince.
The Daily Mail also focused on Harry’s belief Prince Charles feared being overshadowed by Meghan Markle and expressed concerns at having to support her financially.
In his book, Harry said his father had warned him the family was not “made of money”.
Another angle covered in the paper was Harry’s admission that he questioned whether his mother Diana faked her own death because her life was “miserable”.
The Daily Express stated the Prince could never make amends with his family with the headline: “Reconcile? But you sold your soul Harry.”
Commentators quoted in the paper said there was no coming back for Harry after the explosive and “unforgivable” accusations made in the book.
The Sun newspaper didn’t stray from its infamous bold type with the simple headline ‘Harry: “I did Coke and Weed.”’ dominating the front page. The paper also squeezed in details of Harry losing his virginity in a field behind a pub, his punch-up with William, and the Army’s “fury” over his “boast” about killing 25 Taliban.
Almost all of the pages inside the tabloid are dedicated to the tell-all book Spare and the devastating effect it is expected to have on the palace.
The Times described Harry spilling his secrets as the most devastating royal revelations in more than a decade and suggested it could “make permanent” the rift between Harry and his brother William.
It describes Harry accusing William of physically pushing him to the ground as one of the most “personally damaging passages in the book”.
Even the more measured daily The Guardian was critical of the Prince’s kill count when fighting in Afghanistan, a veteran saying: “We don’t do notches on rifle butt.”
The Daily Telegraph focuses on Harry’s plea to Charles with “Please don’t marry Camilla”, describing the book as a settling of scores with members of the royal family.
Teasers at the bottom of the front page show all of the main revelations detailed inside with special attention given to the bombshell memoirs “exceeding” the palace’s worst fears.
All of the papers point to the revelations in the book as a nightmare for the palace which was blindsided by the accidental early release.
The book was due to be published on January 10 but some papers had advance copies of certain passages.
Then in a huge slip-up, the book accidentally went on sale in Spain with surprised customers able to buy copies before it was pulled from the shelves.
The memoir was titled En La Sombra in Spanish, which has the translation “In the Shadow”.
UK press were quick to get their hands on copies and had the book quickly translated.