Prince Harry sat down with ITV interviewer Tom Bradby on Sunday, unveiling new revelations about his experiences growing up in the British royal family ahead of the publication of his memoir, “Spare,” this week.
In the interview and in excerpts from his memoir shared by ITV, the Duke of Sussex addressed how strife in his family has been fueled by the relationship between Buckingham Palace and media outlets.
“We’re not just talking about family relationships, we’re talking about an antagonist, which is the British press, specifically the tabloids who want to create as much conflict as possible,” Prince Harry told Bradby. “The saddest part of that is certain members of my family and the people who work for them are complicit in that conflict.”
He also stated that the “leaking” and “planting” of “a royal source” to the press “is not an unknown person, it is the palace specifically briefing the press, but covering their tracks by being unnamed.”
Prince Harry added that he thinks “that’s pretty shocking to people. Especially when you realize how many palace sources, palace insiders, senior palace officials, how many quotes are being attributed to those people, some of the most heinous, horrible things have been said about me and my wife, completely condoned by the palace because it’s coming from the palace, and those journalists have literally been spoon-fed that narrative without ever coming to us, without ever seeing or questioning the other side.”
He spoke about how his mother was hunted by paparazzi, recalling the traumatic night his father told him Princess Diana had died from injuries sustained in a car crash.
“I don’t want history to repeat itself. I don’t want to be a single father. And I certainly don’t want my children to have a life without a mother or a father,” Prince Harry said in the interview.
The Duke of Sussex also talked about his decision to write the book, saying, “thirty-eight years of having my story told by so many different people, with intentional spin and distortion felt like a good time to tell my own story and be able to tell it for myself. I’m actually really grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to tell my story because it’s my story to tell.”
Prince Harry pointed out that he has tried over the last six years to resolve his concerns with his family privately.
“It never needed to get to this point. I have had conversations, I have written letters, I have written emails, and everything is just, ‘No, you, this is not what’s happening. You, you are imagining it,’” he said. “That’s really hard to take. And if it had stopped, by the point that I fled my home country with my wife and my son fearing for our lives, then maybe this would have turned out differently. It’s hard.”
The duke said he wants “reconciliation but first there needs to be some accountability,” with respect to his family.
“You can’t just continue to say to me that I’m delusional and paranoid when all the evidence is stacked up, because I was genuinely terrified about what is going to happen to me,” he said.
“And then we have a 12-month transition period and everyone doubles. My wife shares her experience. And instead of backing off, both the institution and the tabloid media in the UK, both doubled down,” he added.
Still, the duke said, “forgiveness is 100 percent a possibility,” during the interview.
“There’s probably a lot of people who, after watching the documentary and reading the book, will go, how could you ever forgive your family for what they have done? People have already said that to me. And I said forgiveness is 100% a possibility because I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back. At the moment, I don’t recognize them, as much as they probably don’t recognize me,” Prince Harry said.
Buckingham Palace has repeatedly declined to comment on the contents of Prince Harry’s forthcoming memoir.
The 90-minute one-on-one with ITV is the first of several interviews the 38-year-old royal is doing to promote his upcoming autobiography. His “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper will air on CBS later Sunday.
The following day his sit-down with “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan will air on the ABC show, followed in the evening by a half-hour special on ABC News Live. And to top things off, the duke will make an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” hours after his book is released on Tuesday.
With that all to come before the public is even able to get their hands on the book, one has to wonder if there will be any revelations left to read. For days now, leaks from the upcoming tome have sparked headlines around the world.
It is now known that the duke has made a slew of damaging accusations against the British royal family in “Spare” after several outlets obtained early copies of the book before the weekend. CNN has not seen a copy of the book but has requested an advance copy from the publisher Penguin Random House.
Perhaps the most incendiary revelation to emerge was Prince Harry’s claim of a scuffle with the Prince of Wales during an argument over his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in 2019, as he described while reading an excerpt of his memoir on air on Sunday.
Prince Harry said his brother never tried to dissuade him from marrying Meghan, but expressed some concerns and told him, “‘This is going to be really hard for you,'” Prince Harry recalled during his interview.
“I still to this day don’t really understand which part of what he was talking about,” Prince Harry continued. “Maybe he predicted what the British press’s reaction was going to be.”
His relationship with Prince William is just one of a series of incredibly candid accounts of life as the “spare heir” in his memoirs. The book’s title of “Spare” – a reference to a nickname the duke lived with while growing up. Prince Harry’s version of events also tackles his final moments with the late Queen Elizabeth II, his attempts to seek closure after his mother’s death, and other deeply personal conversations with members of “The Firm.”
One part of the book that is seeing some backlash is his reported remarks on killing 25 Taliban fighters during his time in the British Army in Afghanistan. In addition to disclosing the figure, the duke is also quoted as describing the insurgents as “chess pieces” taken off the board rather than people, according to UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Prince Harry’s comments have prompted criticism from some British security and military figures – and an angry reaction from the Taliban.
Before publicity ramped up around the duke’s book, the Sussexes had previously opened up about the challenges and hardships of royal life in their Netflix docuseries and to Oprah Winfrey.
In both those royal exposés, the couple outlined their acrimonious split with the House of Windsor and blamed the media for invasive, unrelenting coverage, particularly of Meghan.
The Sussexes announced in 2020 that they were stepping away from their roles as senior royals and planned to work towards becoming “financially independent.” The following year, the palace confirmed that the couple had agreed with Queen Elizabeth II that they were not returning as working members of the royal family.
In the recent six-part Netflix documentary, Prince Harry didn’t hold back when he blamed the press for placing undue stress on his wife, saying it led to her having a miscarriage and suffering suicidal thoughts.
Meghan said she wanted to go somewhere for help but claimed she wasn’t allowed to because of the optics at the institution, without specifying who she believed stopped her. She made similar comments in her explosive 2021 interview with Winfrey.