The Royal System Is "Cruel" to "Spares" Like Prince Harry, Author Claims

It's a repeating pattern.

Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince Harry's long-awaited memoir will be titled SPARE, a term that is brimming with significance.

To me, it suggests that the Duke of Sussex felt left out, less important than his brother William within the royal pecking order.

In a 2020 interview recently resurfaced by Express to contextualize the meaning of "the heir and the spare," royal biographer Robert Lacey claimed that Harry had indeed suffered from the way the system worked.

If he were to weigh in now, Lacey would probably tell us he isn't surprised that Harry is pressing ahead with his controversial book, despite the possibility it could further damage his relationship with his father and brother.

"This story goes right back to when they were children," the Battle of Brothers author told Good Morning America in 2020.

"And at the age of 6, 7, William suddenly starts becoming more serious. He's aware of his destiny as a king. Harry goes in the opposite direction."

Poignantly, Lacey shared the following: "There's a story of how he was misbehaving in the back of a car at the age of 4 and his nanny tells him off. And he says, 'I don't have to behave. I'm not going to be King.'"

As the spare, Harry had to find a different path to carve for himself within the royal fold.

"Harry came to realize in his teens that he was typecast as the court jester, the number two," Lacey explained.

"There's William, standing for duty going ahead down the conventional path. And it's Harry who strikes out for love, for self-determination."

Lacey continued, "The British royal system can be very cruel, and it's particularly cruel to the spare.

"This is not the first time we've had spare problems, the heir and the spare, Princess Margaret, Prince Andrew. Now, Harry is in the same dilemma.

"They start off in the public eye as playmates, as co-stars with the heir. And what's their destiny? To be pushed down the line of succession as babies come along, marriages come along. There was trouble with Margaret. There was trouble with Andrew. And now we have the same thing with Harry."

For Lacey, it made all too much sense that Harry finally found a way out of the system, via Meghan Markle.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.