Prince Harry Was Treated as a "Spare" by the Royal Family, Biographer Claims

Prince Harry was treated worse than Prince William by the royal family because he was not the heir to the throne, royal biographer Robert Lacey claimed.

london, england november 10 prince harry, duke of sussex and prince william, duke of cambridge attend the annual remembrance sunday memorial at the cenotaph on november 10, 2019 in london, england photo by karwai tangwireimage
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)
  • Prince Harry was treated worse than Prince William by the royal family, royal biographer Robert Lacey claimed in a recent interview.
  • William was prioritized because he was the heir to the throne, while Harry was "pushed ever outwards" as he grew older, Lacey alleged.
  • "I would say William has been more kindly treated than Harry has been, but that has always been the fate of the spare," he said.

Prince Harry received poorer treatment from the royal family than Prince William because he was not the heir to throne, royal historian and Battle of Brothers author Robert Lacey alleged in a recent interview. While Harry and William received similar amounts of attention as children, Harry was "pushed ever outwards" by the royals as he grew older, Lacey said.

Speaking on the podcast Pod Save the Queen, as the Express reports (opens in new tab), Lacey noted that William was the heir while Harry was the "spare," which had a direct impact on the way the royals treated him. "I would say William has been more kindly treated than Harry has been, but that has always been the fate of the spare," Lacey said. "Harry follows, sadly, in the tradition of Princess Margaret or Prince Andrew as number twos in the system, who are treated harshly by the logic of the royal system which actually favors the main bloodline."

"When they are born and are young and children, the spare is always so close to the centre of things and it is their destiny, through life, to be pushed ever outwards," he continued. "In technical terms, of course, they go down the line of succession. From Harry being right next to William in the succession, he is down to six, seven, eight or so." At present, Harry is sixth in line to the throne (opens in new tab), following Prince Charles, Prince William, and William's children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.