I finished Prince Harry’s Spare last Friday and I’ve been stewing on it ever since, going back to different chapters, thinking about how carefully Harry chose his words in certain situations, and what he chose not to say. While Spare is an incredible historical document, I do feel like it’s incomplete. As Harry told Bryony Gordon, he cut about 400 pages from the first drafts, enough for a whole other memoir. There’s also a sense that he didn’t want to “get into the weeds” of who said what to whom, especially when it came to staff issues within Kensington Palace. I’m left feeling like… wow, I hope Meghan writes her memoir, because she’s going to provide us with more of those kinds of details. In any case, Harry does describe in general terms how everything fell apart within the Kensington Palace office during and after the Sussexes’ wedding.
Our staff sensed the friction, read the press, and thus there was frequent bickering around the office. Sides were taken. Team Cambridge versus Team Sussex. Rivalry, jealousy, competing agendas—it all poisoned the atmosphere.
It didn’t help that everyone was working around the clock. There were so many demands from the press, such a constant stream of errors that needed clearing up, and we didn’t have nearly enough people or resources. At best we were able to address 10 percent of what was out there. Nerves were shattering, people were sniping. In such a climate there was no such thing as constructive criticism. All feedback was seen as an affront, an insult. More than once a staff member slumped across their desk and wept.
For all this, every bit of it, Willy blamed one person. Meg. He told me so several times, and he got cross when I told him he was out of line. He was just repeating the press narrative, spouting fake stories he’d read or been told. The great irony, I told him, was that the real villains were the people he’d imported into the office, people from government, who didn’t seem impervious to this kind of strife—but addicted to it. They had a knack for backstabbing, a talent for intrigue, and they were constantly setting our two groups of staff against each other.
[From Spare by Prince Harry]
After this, Harry explains how Meghan “remained calm” and made efforts to spread kindness, from handwritten thank-you notes to baskets of food and flowers. She hosted tea parties and ice-cream socials for staff and “shared all the freebies she received, clothes and perfumes and makeup, with all the women in the office.” Meghan also bought “new lamps and space heaters, all bought with her personal credit card” for office staff. Not only was Meghan buying furniture for that dilapidated shack, Nottingham Cottage, she was also buying sh-t for the people working in KP’s offices? Jesus.
As for Harry’s explanation that William had brought in Tory political operatives who thrived on conflict, that’s definitely interesting. But I also think Harry has it the wrong way around when he writes “Willy blamed one person. Meg. He told me so several times, and he got cross when I told him he was out of line. He was just repeating the press narrative, spouting fake stories he’d read or been told.” William wasn’t just “repeating” what he’d been told or what he read – William, Kate and their staff were the sources. Once again, I was saying this before Harry and Meghan even got married – there was always a clear and obvious need for the brothers to have separate offices. It was shocking incompetence from Clarence House and Buckingham Palace to not realize that months or even years before the Sussex wedding.
Photos courtesy of WENN.