Prince Harry Says He Has Always Been Treated by Royals as a “Plan B” to William

Prince Harry Says He Has Always Been Treated by Royals as a “Plan B” to William

Prince Harry's highly anticipated memoir, Spare, is finally here, and the bombshells keep on coming.

Toward the start of the book, the Duke of Sussex remembers the many ways in which, from a young age, he was put second to brother Prince William, the heir to the British throne.

He recalls that when he and William were children, they shared a room at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the family often spent their summers (and where Queen Elizabeth II spent her final hours, on September 8, 2022).

William’s side of the room was bigger and had a "beautiful window looking down at the courtyard, the fountain, the bronze statue of a roe deer buck," Harry writes. "My half of the room was far smaller, less luxurious. I never asked why. I didn’t care. But I also didn’t need to asl."

"Two years older than me, Willy was the Heir, whereas I was the Spare. This wasn’t merely how the press referred to us—though it was definitely that. This was shorthand often used by Pa and Mummy and Grandpa. And even Granny," he continues. "The Heir and the Spare—there was no judgement about it, but also no ambiguity. I was the shadow, the support, the Plan B. I was brought into the world in case something happened to Willy. I was summoned to provide backup, distraction, diversion and, if necessary, a spare part. Kidney perhaps. Blood transfusion. Speck of bone marrow. This was all made explicitly clear to me from the start of life’s journey and regularly reinforced thereafter."

Harry writes that despite how harsh that all sounds, he was always happy to be in the family, and in his mind, being a real-life prince in line for the throne after the people he most loved in the world, didn't seem like a bad deal.

Still, the idea of him being the spare sunk in, and in many ways defined his identity and became a sensitive subject for him later in life.

"I was twenty the first time I heard the story of what Pa allegedly said to Mummy the day of my birth: Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an Heir and a Spare—my work is done. A joke. Presumably. On the other hand, minutes after deliver this bit of high comedy, Pa was said to have gone off to meet with his girlfriend. So. Many a true word spoken in jest," Harry writes, referring to King Charles's infamous affair with Camilla, the now Queen Consort.

Harry shares examples of his competitive relationship with William—though William has always been prioritized by the royal family—throughout his memoir. Even as adults, he says, the favoritism has always been apparent. The prince remembers a heartbreaking moment when visited William and Princess Kate's newly renovated Kensington Palace residence, Apartment 1A, and felt ashamed of his and wife Meghan Markle's much less lavish Nottingham Cottage home.

Of the Waleses' home, Harry writes, "The wallpaper, the ceiling trim, the walnut bookshelves filled with volumes of peaceful colors, priceless works of art." He says, it was "magnificent" and "like a museum."

Meanwhile, he and Meghan decorated their cottage with furniture they bought with the former actress's credit card. And in their Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, the Sussexes admit they did much of the handiwork—like painting—themselves.

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