Britain s Harry, a prince at war with his family
January 5, 2023 09:46 PM
Voluntarily exiled in California, Prince Harry is settling scores but his upcoming memoirs, hot on the heels of a tell-all documentary and TV interviews, look set to sound the death knell on his hopes of a family reconciliation.
The 38-year-old Duke of Sussex wants the world to know the "truth" about his childhood, forever marked by the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
His autobiography, titled "Spare", will detail his contempt for the British tabloids and his arguments with brother and heir to the throne Prince William.
William once threw his younger brother to the ground in a row over the latter's American wife, Meghan, according to an excerpt from Harry's autobiography reported by The Guardian newspaper.
In the six-hour Netflix documentary released in December and in two interviews for his book, which comes out on Tuesday, he accuses his father King Charles III of lying.
He also claims "betrayal" by the royal "firm" for not protecting him and Meghan, the mixed-race former television actress he married in May 2018.
He also criticised the royal family's press offices, which he said often spread false information about other members in order to protect the royal they were working for.
Buckingham Palace has not officially reacted to Harry's soul-bearing, which flies in the face of the royal motto: "Never complain. Never justify."
The British tabloids have been merciless in their criticism of the estranged royal, and 59 percent of Britons now have a negative opinion of Charles's younger son.
For a long time, however, the prince with the fiery red hair was one of the most popular royals, his rebellious streak endearing him to the nation.
Henry Charles Albert David was born on September 15, 1984, two years after his brother. He was then third in the order of succession to the throne.
In 1997, the image of the 12-year-old prince walking stony-faced behind his mother's coffin, with his head bowed, travelled around the world.
Difficult years followed. At 17 he smoked marijuana, drank and partied. In 2004, the prince got into a fight with a photographer after leaving a nightclub.
The following year he caused a scandal by dressing up as a Nazi at a fancy dress party.
He passed his end-of-school exams at the elite Eton College, albeit with rumours of a helping hand, and spent a sabbatical year in Australia and Africa, taking care of orphans in Lesotho, where he set up a charity in memory of his mother.
The athletic 6-foot 1-inch (1.86-metre) rugby and polo fan then joined the prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 2005.
His military career lasted 10 years, and included two deployments to Afghanistan, in 2007-2008 for 10 weeks, then as a helicopter pilot from September 2012 to January 2013. He resigned in 2015.
Harry created an international competition for wounded soldiers, the Invictus Games, the first edition of which took place in 2014 in London.
But all the while he was still battling to come to terms with the death of his mother.
"Shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well," he told The Daily Telegraph in 2017.
With the support of his brother, he eventually got help.
He revealed in a 2021 series on mental health, co-produced with the US chatshow host Oprah Winfrey, that he had undergone four years of therapy.
That period encompassed his 2017 engagement to Meghan Markle, their 2018 wedding, and the birth of their son Archie in 2019 and daughter Lilibet in 2021.
The couple's romance appeared to be a fairy-tale love story that could rejuvenate the royal family.
But relations deteriorated so badly that the couple left Britain and frontline royal duties in 2020, eventually settling in California.
Since then, communications between Harry, his father and his brother have largely broken down.
"They've shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile. I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back," Harry said in one promotional TV interview for his memoirs.
In the United States, he and Meghan created "Archewell", a production company and a philanthropic foundation promoting "compassion".
They have received several million dollars for their documentary series and are said to have three books in the pipeline after "Spare", which is to be translated into 16 languages.
They live in a luxurious house in Montecito, where their neighbours include Gwyneth Paltrow, Rob Lowe, George Lucas and Oprah Winfrey.
Although Harry admitted missing his "weird family gatherings" and the UK, he was adamant in his promotional interview with CBS that he will never work for the British royal family again.