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Prince Harry’s do-it-all autobiography has become Britain’s fastest-selling nonfiction book ever. The moment was controversial, Harry claimed that Prince William physically assaulted him and accused his father of putting his own interests first.
The Guardian asked readers, some of whom have already started to read the book, their thoughts on the memoir and the promotion around it. While many said their views on the royal family had changed, others said it strengthened existing positions. Other readers also noted that the book is more balanced than what is presented in some parts of the media.
Here, eight readers discuss how Spare changed their views on family conflict and the future of the royal family as an institution.
“I was brought up to be a royalist but now I see myself cut off from royalty”
I was brought up as a royalist and accepted their role without much question. I looked up to the late queen and admired what I saw as her sense of duty and public service.
However, I now have much more sympathy for Harry and think the treatment of him and Meghan by much of the press is reprehensible and negatively biased. I found Jeremy Clarkson’s comments absolutely disgusting – I complained to Ipso.
I thought so [Harry and Meghan’s] The relationship may be a harbinger of a changing time. Now I really lean towards the view that a hereditary monarchy is irrelevant and means inequality of opportunity in our country. Jane Popplewell, 60, east Yorkshire, works in adult social care
“Harry now looks as entitled as the others”
My view of the royal family was negative before – I don’t think the UK should be a monarchy. Before the last introduction, I sympathized with Harry and Meghan but now I sympathize less with the fact that I think they show the same level of authority as the other Windsorians. His words about Africa are arrogant and I don’t think the taxpayer should pay for his safety while living in the USA.
I feel sorry for Meghan and even Camilla, I think they were wrongly accused of breaking up the family. Maybe it’s because they’re women and “foreigners”. The monarchy is being ridiculed and I don’t see how this contributes to the positive image of the UK. Rachael, 34, Oxford, copywriter
‘Humanized the royal family’
The revelations in Harry’s book humanized the royal family and showed that even those in the highest realms of society are afflicted by family drama and mental health issues.
I used to see them as excellent and prestigious, but now that I think about it, they are a family with ordinary problems. We benefit by seeing a more realistic depiction.
I’ve read most of the book – I think this is the first time it has tarnished William’s reputation, but we haven’t heard from his point of view. I’m afraid Prince Harry and Meghan’s mental health will only get worse. They claim they don’t want media attention, but this memoir will only serve to subject them to public scrutiny for years to come. Habib Syed, 22, London, student
“Royals come across better than the media presents”
I’m a monarchist – I’d rather continue the hereditary system with a royal figure than go the republican route. When the release date was announced, I pre-ordered the book and started reading it on business holidays in the early hours of January 10th.
Despite the press hysteria, his father, King Charles, and his wider family come across much better terms through this narrative than you might find in the media in general. [Its focus has been] On the sensational “conflict” between siblings, which is said to stem from Harry’s “resentment” at being the “spare” younger sibling [despite] 411 pages of anecdotes of his general life. What I think is missing from most media is that book sales support charities. David, 51, Hereford, industrial cleaner
“I was neutral before but now I think the royal family should go”
I’ve never seen the royal family before. The news I’ve heard about Spare (I haven’t read it myself) seems to confirm what should have been obvious in retrospect: it’s utter madness to say that a particular family was chosen by God to dominate the rest of us. It’s crazy to me that the royal family is as popular with the British public as they are.
I was neutral on republicanism before, but now it’s clear: the royal family must go. Anyone defending this disastrous status quo between the tabloids and the royal family seems increasingly delusional and out of touch. Practical Samant, 29, Oxford, NHS radiotherapy physicist
“I no longer support the royal family – but Harry has also revealed a lot”
I used to be a staunch royalist, I loved Diana and the queen, but after seeing Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series and the death of our beloved queen, I no longer support them. I found Meghan’s mom really engaging and believable – she made it pretty clear what Meghan was going through. Plus, seeing media stories compared to Kate side-by-side.
Sorry for Harry, he seems pretty lost in the past and still has a lot of anger. I’m halfway through her book and unfortunately I feel like she’s revealing too many personal issues and now I’m having a hard time defending her. There is no turning back for him now. I hope he can enjoy his life in America. Francesca, 56, Hampshire, project manager
“Their privileged lives come at a high price”
I have long been in favor of the abolition of the monarchy. There are many reasons why this is a good idea but what has come to the fore lately is how much damage has been done to members of the Windsor family.
Sometimes what seems like a privileged asset to members of the royal family only comes at the expense of their sanity. The marriages of three of the queen’s four children broke down. The tiniest details of the royal family’s lives are under constant scrutiny, and it is very difficult for members of the royal family to express their own feelings.
They are trapped – under the guise of those who want a monarchy but don’t care about people, I think it’s an abusive relationship. Peter Gray, 62, Chesterfield, retired
“My view of Camilla has changed”
I don’t think I ever looked at the royal family as a family, more of a collection of characters. But what you’re looking at is a family, and these things go on and on. Since I also have two boys, I know that a hierarchy dynamic is very common. The second son is often upset that they don’t get the attention the first got.
I’ve never been a royalist, but I was a Meghan fan because I saw her in Suits. I really don’t know how he deals with the constant volley of negativity, lies, and sarcasm.
The last introduction changed the way I looked at Camilla – she seemed like a decent person, but when she had that lunch with Piers Morgan – it slapped me in the face. This is when I thought, ‘I don’t trust them’ for me. Pauline Killen, 55, Belfast, IT project manager