Omid Scobie’s Yahoo UK column this week is so good! “’Spare’ heir Harry’s achieved his dream life – and proved his palace critics wrong.” Scobie details how successful Harry has been in the two years & four months since he officially left the Firm. Scobie breaks some news in this piece about Harry’s memoir too, and he confirms something I haven’t read anywhere else, which is that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took meetings at the United Nations with Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the UN and “prolific social justice advocates.” Scobie begins with the description of Harry’s UN speech this week and notes how Harry would have never been able to make that speech if he was still part of the Firm. Some highlights:
Seeking great purpose: As a “spare” heir born without a defined role, seeking a life of greater purpose has been a long and mostly solitary journey for Harry, going back as far as the day he signed up to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2005 to start a decade-long military career. Stepping away from his royal role – and the tight restrictions of a life within the institution of the monarchy –has been the latest step in that journey, finally opening up a world of potential previously unavailable to him as the sixth-in-line.
The palace did not believe in him: But not everybody believed in Harry’s decision. Few within his own family and the palace thought it was a good idea, many had their own dramatic predictions about how disastrous a move to the US could be. “Honestly, he’s setting himself up to fail,” a very senior aide told me in early 2020. “Without all of this, it’s impossible,” they continued, gesturing to the walls of Buckingham Palace.
The money situation: As numerous others within the bubble of the family claimed at the time, Harry’s ambition to cut himself off from the publicly-funded Sovereign Grant and continue a life of service would be impossible without the risk of accepting money from the “wrong” places (a situation several family members know all too well). But two years later, and without a penny from the British taxpayer, Harry has created the life he has long dreamed about. A life that, dare I say it, he couldn’t have achieved if he remained a working member of ‘The Firm’.
Archewell, Travalyst, Sentebale & Invictus: After co-founding the Archewell foundation with Meghan in 2020, Harry has become involved in a variety of issues that working royals famously steer clear of, including the fight against misinformation and disinformation, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, supporting the Stop Hate For Profit movement, and even candid conversations about racism. Harry’s global initiative for sustainable and ethical travel, Travalyst, is currently moving out of its pilot phase and already helping customers choose greener options while browsing flight listings on the likes of Google and Skyscanner. Just like the positive impact Sentebale has had on those affected by HIV/Aids in Southern Africa, and his Invictus Games on the global military community, Travalyst has the game-changing potential to help solve tourism’s contribution to climate change and environmental damage.
Contracts: Major contracts with digital coaching platform Better Up, Netflix and Spotify (his own podcast series is on the horizon) have also seen Harry remain true to his promise that any commercial endeavours he commits to will still be rooted in a desire to help others and illuminate unheard stories.
His memoir: His forthcoming memoir – which is now finished and has completed legal checks – will no doubt invite some of it in, even if, as sources have told me over the past year, it doesn’t include those much-reported “attacks” on his family. The book will be Harry’s biggest chance to tell his side of the story – and paint a clearer picture of the man, husband, father and global citizen he is today. Just like his late mother, he too has spent considerable lengths of his life misunderstood.
Diana vibes: It’s one of the many parallels in his life Harry has with Princess Diana, who he spoke about warmly as he stood at the UN HQ on Monday. A woman with boundless potential, but who the Royal Family were uninterested in harnessing the potential of. We’ll never know just how much Diana could have achieved if she was still alive today. But, seeing Harry continue much of her legacy while also creating his own, it’s clear the duke has plenty of unfinished business.
“Honestly, he’s setting himself up to fail… Without all of this, it’s impossible…” That’s genuinely how the royals think and that’s how their royal aides think too. That’s why Meghan bothered them so much, it wasn’t just about her race and her Americanness – she saw through them and how disorganized, limited, conceited and backwards they were. Meghan came into royalty with her own celebrity, her own money, her own (albeit limited) profile. They tried to convince her that she would be nothing without them, and (simultaneously) that she was “theirs” to use and abuse as they saw fit. She quickly understood that royalty is just like any other inept, stagnant family-run business and she thought “I could do this better, cheaper and in America.” Harry agreed. Harry had started to see that too, even before he met Meghan. There was a reason he worked outside the royal system to create Invictus, you know? Anyway, I love that Harry understands how to harness his platform and his privilege, and Scobie is exactly right, this is not simply what Diana wanted for Harry, it’s what Diana wanted for herself.
Also: the tea about Harry’s memoir is fascinating. So the book is good to go. I do think it will be published this fall.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar, Travalyst, YouTube screencaps.