Voluntarily exiled to California, Prince Harry is a man at war, who nevertheless dreams of reconciliation. But the imminent publication of his memoirs, in the wake of a long documentary against the British royal family, risks tolling the end of these hopes.
At 38, the Duke of Sussex wants the whole world to know his “truth” and his past suffering: his childhood, forever marked by the death of his mother Princess Diana; his dislike of British tabloids; his arguments with his brother William who would have even once thrown him to the ground, according to an extract from his autobiography reported by The Guardian.
In the six-hour documentary aired in December on Netflix and in two promotional interviews for his book “The Substitute” which comes out in 16 languages on January 10, he accuses his father King Charles III of lies, and the royal “firm” of “treason” for not having protected them with his wife Meghan, a mixed-race American married in May 2018.
He also denounces the war of the royal communication services, which according to him do not hesitate to disseminate false information to protect the member of the family in their care.
Buckingham Palace has not officially reacted to this great narcissistic unpacking which tramples on the royal motto “never complain, never justify yourself”. The British tabloids have been ruthless, and 59% of Britons now have a negative opinion of Charles III’s youngest son.
For a long time, however, they forgave everything to this rebellious prince with fiery hair, born on September 15, 1984, two years after his brother, the future king. Henry Charles Albert David, was then third in line to the throne. He is now fifth, behind his brother’s children.
In 1997, the image of this 12-year-old little prince walking with his head down and his face closed behind his mother’s coffin went around the world.
– Difficult years –
Difficult years followed: at 17 he smoked marijuana, drank, partied. In 2004, he got into a fight with a photographer after leaving a nightclub. The following year he caused a scandal after disguising himself as a Nazi during a costume party.
After having obtained, apparently with a little help, his A levels (equivalent to the baccalaureate) at the famous college of Eton, this sportsman of 1m86, passionate about rugby and polo leaves for a sabbatical year in Australia and Africa, notably taking care of orphans in Lesotho where he will create an NGO in memory of his mother.
He then joined the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2005.
His military career lasted 10 years, marked by 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.
In the meantime, he created an international competition for wounded soldiers, the Invictus Games.
But the death of his mother changed him forever. Afterwards, “I blocked all my emotions for 20 years” he confided in 2017 to the Telegraph.
– Therapy –
He ends up getting help. In 2021, he explains that he did 4 years of therapy, in a series on mental health co-produced with the American host Oprah Winfrey.
A period that coincides with his engagement in 2017 with Meghan Markle, their marriage in 2018, the birth of their son Archie in 2019 and their daughter Lilibet in 2021: a love story capable of blowing a new wind of diversity on the monarchy.
But the tensions are such that the couple moved to California in 2020. Since then, communication has been largely broken between Harry, his father and his brother.
“They have shown no desire for reconciliation (…) I would like to reconnect with my father. I would like to reconnect with my brother,” said Harry in his promotional interview with the British channel ITV.
In the United States, he created “Archewell” with Meghan, both a production company and a philanthropic foundation advocating “compassion”.
They were paid several million dollars for their documentary series and have three books in the works after “The Substitute”.
They live in a luxurious house in Montecito, where they have Gwyneth Paltrow, Rob Lowe, George Lucas and Oprah Winfrey as neighbors.
Although he misses his “bizarre family reunions” and his country, Harry was adamant in his promotional interview with CBS: “no” he does not plan to work for the British royal family again.