Prince Harry has made his first TV appearance since his highly-anticipated memoir, “Spare,” leaked on Thursday.
The pre-recorded interview with British anchor Tom Bradby, which aired in the UK at 9pm local time on public service broadcaster ITV, saw Harry address some of the most explosive claims in the book, including his drug-taking and his fractured relationship with his family.
He said he was “grateful” for the chance to tell his story in the memoir and said if he’d still been part of the royal family he wouldn’t have had that opportunity.
Among a wide-ranging discussion, which was broadcast over 90 minutes with commercial breaks, Harry slammed former “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson following a newspaper column last month in which the “Clarkson’s Farm” star wrote that he “hates” Meghan on a “cellular level” and suggested she be made to “parade naked” through Britain while people “throw lumps of excrement at her.”
“[It was] “horrific, hurtful and cruel towards my wife,” Harry told Bradby of Clarkson’s column. “It also encourages other people around the UK and around the world, particularly men, to go and think that it’s acceptable to treat women that way.”
British tabloid The Sun, which published Clarkson’s column, later apologized for it while Clarkson said on Twitter he was “horrified to have caused so much hurt” although stopped short of an apology.
Harry also discussed his recent six-part Netflix documentary, “Harry & Meghan,” saying he was “relieved” it was completed. “The Netflix documentary and the book [“Spare”], one being our story and one very much being my story, they were look-back projects,” he explained. “They were necessary, they were essential, for historical fact. I don’t want my kids or other people at that age growing up thinking, ‘Oh wow, that’s what happened.'”
“It’s been a painful process, cathartic at times, but going back over old ground to be able to get these projects right has taken a lot of energy and there’s a lot of relief now that both these projects have been completed and now we can focus on looking forward and I’m excited about that,” he continued.”
Harry also told Bradby that he felt “compassion” for his father having to tell him his mother Princess Diana had died following a car crash in 1997 as well as detailing his memories of his mother’s funeral, where he famously walked behind her coffin on its way to the funeral service alongside his brother William, father King Charles II and grandfather Prince Philip. He told Bradby that when he took part in his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral last September, which followed the same route as Diana’s, he and William joked with each other “at least we know the way.”
Harry also discussed conspiracy theories that continue to swirl around his mother’s death, saying: “There’s a lot of things that are unexplained.” But, having reviewed the files relating to her death, he said he didn’t “really see the point” of opening up another inquiry.
In the interview Harry also said it was “important to acknowledge” his drug-taking, which he details in the book, but side-stepped a question from Bradby about whether his taking cocaine as a member of the publicly-funded royal family was a matter of public interest, with British newspapers covering it in the early to mid 2000s.
Harry also insisted that he had not written his memoir with the intention of hurting his brother and father, despite the many intrusive and potentially damaging revelations within it. “Nothing I’ve done in this book or otherwise has ever been [with] any intention to harm them,” he told Bradby. But he claimed his family had “got into bed with the devil” by cooperating with the British press and suggested this was his opportunity to set the record straight.
Harry also went into detail about his and Meghan’s rift with William and Kate, saying his brother and sister-in-law had been “Suits” fans – “Who’d have thought?” Harry laughed – but said there were “lots of different reasons” they didn’t get on, including “stereotyping” about Meghan being an “American actress, divorced, bi-racial.” He also repeated his insinuation from the book that his family was jealous of Meghan, leading them to brief the press against her.
“They’ve shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile,” Harry told Bradby of his current relationship with his family. “I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back.”
“Spare” is due to be released worldwide on Tuesday, Jan. 10 amid maximum security. But retailers in Spain broke the strict embargo on Jan. 5, reportedly to maximize sales ahead of “Three Kings Day” in Spain, which falls annually on Jan. 6 and represents the biggest retail holiday of the year.
The leak led to a media frenzy as press outlets across the world rushed to get their hands on a Spanish copy, titled locally “En la Sombra” (“In the Shadow”) and frantically translated it.
Amid the plethora of stories to emerge from the tome included Harry’s admission to smoking weed, snorting cocaine and even taking magic mushrooms at “Friends” alumna Courteney Cox’s house while she was out one night. He also details the night he lost his virginity, how he wet his underwear hours before his first date with Meghan, the frostbite on his penis at William and Kate’s 2011 wedding, his physical altercation with William, how he killed 25 Afghanis while fighting for the British army, his final words to his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, following her death last September, and details of private conversations he had with family members including his father King Charles III.
Bradby, who flew to California to conduct the lengthy interview with Harry, is the lead anchor of ITV’s “News at 10” and a former royal correspondent. He was said to have been close to both Harry and his brother Prince William. In 2010 he was chosen to conduct the engagement interview with a newly-betrothed William and Kate Middleton (now the Princess of Wales). And he scored a coup in 2019 with his documentary, “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” which followed the royal couple on tour in South Africa and first saw them both speak out about their unhappiness within the British royal family. Meghan famously thanked Bradby for asking how she was doing, saying “Not many people have asked if I’m OK” while Harry told the anchor of his relationship with William: “We’re certainly on different paths at the moment. […] We don’t see each other as much as we used to.”
However, reports in the UK media claim that the documentary, while representing a career highlight for Bradby, also brought about the end of his relationship with William.
Prince Harry has a further three interviews lined up with US media, including “60 Minutes” with Anderson Cooper, which is set to air tonight, “Good Morning America” with Michael Strahan tomorrow morning and “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday evening. The interviews with Bradby, Cooper and Strahan were all believed to have been recorded before “Spare” leaked on Thursday.