Britain’s Prince Harry says older brother and heir to the throne Prince William knocked him to the floor during a 2019 argument over Harry’s American wife Meghan in his much-awaited memoir which went on sale days early in Spain.
The altercation between the brothers, the sons of King Charles, is detailed in Harry’s book “Spare” which was due to be published on Jan. 10, but Reuters and other media have been able to obtain copies in Spain.
Details of its contents also come as ITV released a clip of an upcoming interview with Harry in which he said he could not commit to attending his father’s coronation in May.
In the book, Harry says the 2019 brawlwith William took place at Harry’s London home. William had called Meghan “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”, which Harry said sounded like “the press narrative” about his wife.
“He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor,” Harry wrote.
“I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out.”
William then challenged his younger brother to hit back but Harry refused. William later returned to the scene, “looking regretful, and apologised”, Harry wrote, with his brother asking him not to tell Meghan that he had “attacked” him.
Spokespeople for King Charles and Prince William have declined to comment.
William and Harry were once seen as very close after the death of their mother, Princess Diana, in a Paris car crash in 1997. But the brothers have fallen out since Harry married Meghan, a former actress, in 2018 and the couple then stepped down for royal duties to move to California two years later.
Since their departure, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as the couple are officially known, have delivered stinging criticism of the Windsors and the British monarchy which has included accusations of racism which William himself has dismissed.
Last month, their six-part Netflix documentary, which attracted record audiences, aired with renewed accusations including that William had screamed at Harry during a crisis summit to discuss his future.
The main criticism from Harry and Meghan is that royal aides not only refused to hit back at hostile, inaccurate press coverage but were complicit in leaking negative stories to protect other royals, most notably William.
“I don’t know how staying silent is ever going to make things better,” Harry said in Thursday’s ITV clip.
Asked why he was invading the privacy of his family, something he had railed against, he replied: “That will be the accusation from the people that don’t understand or don’t want to believe that my family have been briefing the press.”
HEIR AND A SPARE
The title of his book “Spare” comes from an oft-cited quote in British aristocratic circles about the need for an heir, and a spare.
According to extracts reported by the Guardian newspaper, the first publication to obtain a copy, King Charles reputedly said to Diana on the day Harry was born: “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare – my work is done.”
The book also recounts “intensely private scenes and conversations”, the Guardian said, such as describing his memories and love of his mother, who was killed in a 1997 car crash, and grandmother Queen Elizabeth, who died last year at age 96.
How much the disclosures will resonate with the public is unclear. A YouGov poll this week found 65% of those surveyed were “not interested at all” in his upcoming book, while another found greater sympathy among respondents for William and his wife Kate than for Harry and Meghan.
Charles himself is still hoping for a reconciliation with his son, unnamed sources told newspapers this week.
In its leaked extracts, the Guardian says the king had stood between his two sons during a difficult meeting at Windsor Castle following the April 2021 funeral for their grandfather Prince Philip, the late queen’s husband.
“Please, boys,” Harry quoted his father as saying. “Don’t make my final years a misery.”