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Image / Living / Culture

Prince Harry is laying everything on the table, and we mean *everything*


By Sarah Finnan
09th Jan 2023

ITV

Prince Harry is laying everything on the table, and we mean *everything*

ITV

If you thought his Oprah interview was good, you ain’t seen nothing yet…

In his first major TV interview promoting his upcoming memoir, Spare, Prince Harry sat down with journalist Tom Bradby last night for a 90-minute chat about, well, everything – from Jeremy Clarkson to experimenting with drugs to his current relationship with his bother.

Joining the ITV presenter for a frank discussion about the contents of his controversial new book, it was a no-holds-barred conversation about the power dynamics that go on behind the scenes… and Harry was only too willing to talk. 

Here’s what we learned.  

He asked his father not to marry Camilla 

According to Harry, both he and William asked their father not to marry Camilla Parker Bowles after their mother’s death. “We endorse Camilla. Just please don’t marry her, just be together, Pa,” he recalls telling his father at the time. Camilla was, in his opinion, “playing the long game” – “a campaign aimed at marriage, and eventually the crown”. 

Harry also accuses the Queen Consort of leaking stories that painted her in a favourable light to the press. “Stories began to appear everywhere in all the papers about her private conversations with Willy. Stories that contained pinpoint accurate details, none of which had come from Willy, of course,” he writes in his book. “They could only have been leaked by the one other person present.” It was however, Charles’ decision, and Harry maintains that he genuinely just wants his father to be happy. 

Asked if he has been “pretty consistently scathing” about his stepmother and the press, Harry responds by saying, “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.” 

He believes certain family members ‘got in bed with the devil’ 

“I love my father, I love my brother, I love my family,” Harry told Tom, reiterating that the purpose of this book was not to hurt them. But he believes that “certain members [of the family] have decided to get in bed with the devil”. Why? So as to rehabilitate their own images. “If you need to do that, or you want to do that, you choose to do that – well, that is a choice. That’s up to you. But the moment that rehabilitation comes at the detriment to others, me, other members of my family, then that’s where I draw the line.”

He also claimes there was a “horrible reaction” from his family members on the day that Queen Elizabeth died, with “briefings”, “leaking” and “planting” of stories.

He denies calling the royal family racist 

Asked about his infamous interview with Oprah Winfrey last year, Harry vehemently denies that he or Meghan accused members of the royal family of being racist, telling Tom, “The British press said that. Did Meghan ever mention that they’re racist?” Referring to Meghan’s claims that a certain family member made “troubling” comments about the colour of Archie’s skin, Harry described it as being unconscious bias, not racism. “The difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different. But once it’s been acknowledged, or pointed out to you as an individual, or as an institution, that you have unconscious bias, you, therefore, have an opportunity to learn and grow from that so that you are part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Otherwise unconscious bias then moves into the category of racism,” he concluded.

According to him, the recent incident at Buckingham Palace involving black campaigner Ngozi Fulani and Lady Susan Hussey, the late Queen’s lady in waiting, “is a very good example of the environment within the institution”. After the couple’s Oprah interview, the institution said that they were going to bring in a diversity tsar… however, that has yet to happen. “Everything they said was going to happen, hasn’t happened,” Harry continued. “I’ve always been open to wanting to help them understand their part in it, and especially when you are the monarchy – you have a responsibility, and quite rightly people hold you to a higher standard than others.”

There was no Fab Four

Discussing Kate and William’s relationship with Meghan, Harry admitted that there was no such thing as the Fab Four (William, Kate, Meghan and Harry) – it was a concept fabricated by the media to fuel stories around the foursome and create competition between them. Bradby said that the impression was that the Prince and Princess of Wales didn’t “get on” with Meghan “almost from the get-go”, to which Harry replied, “Yeah, fair.” When pushed as to why this was the case, Harry said that there were many different reasons.

“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? Especially when within my family, you have the newspapers laid out pretty much in every single palace and house that is around.” 

Though William never tried to dissuade him from marrying Meghan, Harry says that he did voice “some concerns very early on”, telling him, “this is going to be really hard for you.” 

He really did fight with William over Beardgate

Apparently, he and William really did fall out over the fact that he was allowed to keep his beard for his wedding. In keeping with military rules, Prince Harry had to ask his grandmother, the Queen, for permission to keep his beard. She agreed after hearing his explanation and learning that his beard was “a shield to [his] anxiety”. However, William later tried to get him to shave it off… which ignited a week-long row between the two. “It was an heir/spare thing,” Harry explained.

In his book, Harry also alleges that he was physically attacked by Wiliam during an argument over his marriage to Meghan. According to him, he and his brother “used to fight all the time” as youngsters but there was a different “level of frustration” on this particular occasion. “I saw this red mist in him,” Harry notes. “I can pretty much guarantee today that if I wasn’t doing therapy sessions like I was, and being able to process that anger and frustration, that I would’ve fought back – 100%.”

He wants to reconcile

On the topic of whether a reconciliation is possible, Harry still believes that it is. Questioned as to why he thinks writing a tell-all book is the way to go about it, he says that, essentially, it comes down to wanting to tell the truth. “The level of planting and leakings from other members of the family means that, in my mind, they have written countless books, certainly millions of words have been dedicated to trying to trash my wife and myself to the point where I had to leave my country.”

“I think 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’ve done?’ People have already said that to me.

“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 recognise them, as much as they probably don’t recognise me.”

Suggesting that Harry hasn’t so much burnt his bridges as “taken a flame thrower to them”, Harry maintains that his family have “shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile up until this point”. “I’m not sure how honesty is burning bridges. You know, silence only allows the abuser to abuse, right? So, I don’t know how staying silent is ever going to make things better.” He doesn’t believe that his father or brother will read his book either. 

Other topics touched on within the interview include past drug use (Harry admits to having experimented with marijuana, magic mushrooms and cocaine), sibling rivalry between himself and William at Eton and  Jeremy Clarkson’s recent comments about Meghan in The Sun.

Meanwhile over in the US, Harry also spoke to Anderson Cooper on CBS’s 60 Minutes, which is available to watch in Ireland on Paramount+.

Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, will be available to buy in all good book shops from tomorrow.