Torn families, manipulative advisers… We read “The Substitute”, Harry’s memoir

“‘Harold, you have to listen to me! I just want you to be happy, Harold. I swear… I swear on Mother’s life.” He froze. I froze. Father froze. He had taken the leap. The scene took place hours after the funeral of Prince Philip who died on April 9, 2021. William (who calls his brother Harold), Harry and their father Prince Charles were later reunited, while Harry had left Great Britain with his wife. and previous year’s child. The scene, which takes place at the end AlternativePrince Harry’s memoir published this January 10 in Fayard, encapsulates the work: rivalries between brothers, with fathers, the ubiquitous memory of Diana and above, the thick shadows of the tabloids and communications advisers.

For more than 500 pages, Prince Harry finished his account. It blew up the communications convention between Buckingham Palace, Clarence House or Kensington Palace – the various offices in charge of the royal family’s communications – and the press. No more stories to be told dead, that is, without citing the royal family as sources, “sources close to the palace” or not commenting on stories that appeared in the tabloids. Gone is also the privileged access that British newspaper royal correspondents have to the royal family – a system the Duke of Sussex says he abhors. Prince replied and we, sometimes on old stories. The Nazi costume she wore to a party in January 2005? Harry said he went there at the urging of his brother, who hates costume parties. The theme of this one is “settlers and natives”. He remembers going into a costume shop and hesitating between a British pilot’s costume and this uniform. Kate and William “screamed with laughter” when they saw him in this outfit

A “little game of blackmail and strategy”.

The racist phrase he used in 2006 against a Pakistani soldier? “As a child, I had heard many people use that word without raising anyone’s eyebrows, and I never considered these people that they were racist,” said the prince, who admitted to having summoned the army to apologize. I don’t know anything about subconscious bias either. I’m twenty-one, I’m swimming in a bubble of privilege and to me that word is like ” Australia “used of Australians. Not guilty.”

What is juvenile rehabilitation? Harry responded to this by writing accusations against the tabloids and his father’s advisers. The prince is still angry about it more than twenty years after the article was published. He said he wanted to answer them at the time, but his father’s advisors chose to remain silent. They will use stories targeting sons to restore the father’s image: “In all these disgusting stories, these little games of blackmail and strategy, the counselor sees an unexpected opportunity, a wonderful consolation gift for Dad: henceforth he will not will do. again, in the eyes of the world, an unfaithful husband, but a hapless single father powerless before his offspring drugged to the marrow. »

Rupert Murdoch, “evil incarnate”

The book is an accusation of tabloid violence. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner Sun, is the “evil incarnate” for the prince. It’s no surprise that Diana’s son used this qualification, who throughout his childhood saw his mother being chased by paparazzi. To avoid being targeted, the prince said he hid in the trunk of a car when he left a nightclub. When Meghan was due to give birth, they went to the hospital in an unmarked van.

He who denounces throughout the book intrusions into his personal life and that of his mother, shows himself open by recounting a number of intimate memories, such as his loss of virginity, which is described as an “embarrassing” episode, or even the time he ate a magic mushroom at actress Courtney Cox’s house. Was it important to write that the smell of the cream he was advised to apply to his numb penis after the polar expedition reminded him of his mother?

Harry defended himself from doing too much. After all, she pleaded, the practice was unheard of in the royal family: a biography of her father published in 1994 was written not “by” but “with” presenter and historian Jonathan Dimbledy, she said. Diana herself told journalist Andrew Morton her story, an attempt, once again, to report the truth, while she actually parted ways with Prince Charles.

William and Harry did not want Charles to marry Camilla

Harry has drawn a red line for himself: he has said almost nothing about his children, other than Meghan’s delivery. Not a word about his nephews, Kate and William’s children.

On the other hand, he clawed at Camilla, whom he accused of being close to the press. She accused her father’s advisers of attacking the image of Kate and William, then Harry and Meghan, in favor of Charles and Camilla. It paints a portrait of the loving but distant Charles, who distanced himself from her after his marriage to Camilla. William and he did not want this union, he wrote.

Diana’s memory, the common thread of this memoir

He described a loose relationship with his brother over the years, with the two being rivals at times. Charity support for Africa is mine, William declared one day, you have veterans.

With his brother, Harry cannot bring up their mother’s death. Throughout the book, the Duke of Sussex emphasizes his pain, failing for years to come to terms with this loss. She says she only cried once for her mother in 1997 and would only manage to cry a second time years later, in the presence of a boyfriend.

If Harry defended his actions, he also took the opportunity to defend his wife. The famous letter Meghan sent to her father in an attempt to reconcile? An idea from the queen, she said. His wife accused of emailing employees at an inappropriate hour? He had just woken up to talk to friends in the United States and was not expecting an “immediate response”.

Neither Charles nor William reacted publicly to the publication of the book. 400,000 copies of the memoir sold on Tuesday, the day it was released.

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