The memoir marks the latest installment from a couple who left royal service to live their own best, financially independent lives in California, mostly by telling stories of their estrangement from their families and the palace.
Many Britons claim they have already heard enough, thank you very much, from Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. But presales have put Harry’s book, scheduled for an official release Tuesday, at the top of Amazon’s bestsellers. The Harry-hating tabloids here are going nuts on the story, and social media in Britain is filled with dueling hashtags on the pros and cons of the couple.
Prince Harry memoir describes attack by brother
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace continue to decline to comment on any of it.
Harry killed 25 Taliban fighters in Afghanistan
The prince says he killed 25 members of the Taliban during his two tours serving with the British army in Afghanistan. “When I found myself plunged in the heat and confusion of combat I didn’t think of those 25 as people. They were chess pieces removed from the board. Bad people eliminated before they could kill good people,” he wrote, according to the BBC account.
Harry served five months as a forward air controller and Apache helicopter pilot. The Ministry of Defense would not confirm the specifics of his account, saying: “We do not comment on operational details for security reasons.” Former British military officers have told the media that boasting of kills is not smart and could expose the prince and his family to heightened security threats.
William and Kate encouraged his Nazi costume
Harry claims he was deciding between going as a pilot or Nazi to a “Natives and Colonials” themed party in 2005, and he asked his brother and future sister-in-law to help him decide. “I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought. Nazi uniform, they said,” according to Harry, who writes that they laughed when they saw him dressed up.
The tabloid photos of him in that costume were one of the royal family’s biggest Harry headaches — at least before he quit his royal role and decamped to California. In previous interviews, Harry has said that decision, when he was 20, was something he would always regret.
Harry sought a psychic to communicate with his dead mother
Harry writes about using a psychic who claimed to have “powers” to communicate with his mother, Princess Diana. She told him Diana “was happy he was living the life she never could,” according to the BBC.
His Eton days included drugs and sex
Harry confesses that in the years he attended Eton College, England’s most elite boarding school, he smoked marijuana and snorted cocaine, starting at the age of 17. That revelation has mostly gotten a yawn in Britain, where few believed Buckingham Palace’s previous denials about Harry’s drug use.
Attracting more attention is the story of his loss of virginity. It was “a humiliating episode with an older woman who liked macho horses and who treated me like a young stallion,” the prince wrote. “One of my many mistakes was letting it happen in a field, just behind a very busy pub.”
He resisted his father’s marriage to Camilla
Harry writes, according to the Sun, that he and William begged their father, Charles, not to marry his longtime partner Camilla. The prince recalls fears that she would become a “wicked stepmother” and be unfairly compared to Diana.
When he aired any objections is unclear. Charles and Camilla, now king and queen consort, married in 2005.
Bridesmaid dresses and Easter gifts fed Meghan-Kate tensions
The MailOnline headline on Friday focused on the saga between Harry and William’s wives: “What’s REALLY behind Meghan and Kate’s long-standing feud: Harry’s memoir claims falling out over bridesmaids dresses, Easter gifts and lip gloss drove them apart (but ‘recollections may vary ‘).”
The British tabloids have been fairly obsessed with this storyline, including who made whom cry first, Meghan or Catherine.
Harry and William got into a physical fight over Meghan
In a passage leaked this week to the Guardian, Harry writes that his older brother physically attacked him in a kitchen confrontation in 2019, after William called Meghan “difficult,” “rude” and “abrasive.”
During their fight, Harry writes, his older brother “grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor,” according to the Guardian. Harry says that he landed on a dog bowl, which left him bruised, and that his brother egged him to hit back but that he didn’t.
Who commented on his baby’s skin color remains a mystery
None of the accounts of the book so far reveal the answer to an outstanding question: Who in the family raised questions about what Harry and Meghan’s biracial baby would look like when he was born? That story was one of the headlines from Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. They declined at the time to say who prompted that conversation — only that it wasn’t Queen Elizabeth II or her husband, Prince Philip. And Harry may not be willing to go further than that in the book, either.
But Harry will also be making the interview rounds this week, plugging the book. Does he have anything left to reveal?
The prince is sad that he has lost touch with his father and brother, and he says he wants “a family” and “not an institution.” In an ITV teaser, Harry talks about wanting “reconciliation” with his father and brother but says: “First, there needs to be some accountability.”
In another clip from an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, airing Sunday, Harry admits that he was “probably bigoted” before he began dating Meghan, that he was “incredibly naive” about how the British tabloids would spin the relationship and that the “the race element” of the couple’s relationship had been “jumped on straight away.”