It’s fair to say that last night’s ITV interview – imaginatively entitled Harry: The Interview – between Prince Harry and his long-standing friend, the journalist Tom Bradby, has been overshadowed by the chaotic leak of Harry’s autobiography Spare. Given the sheer wealth of revelations in the book, what should have been a revelatory teaser for its publication tomorrow has now become almost anti-climatic.
Nonetheless, ITV has done an excellent job of teasing snippets from the encounter between the Duke of Sussex and Brady, and anticipation has been rife for the 90-minute show. But is it as revelatory as his parents’ televised encounters with Jonathan Dimbleby and – alas – Martin Bashir, or was it a damp squib?
Bradby, at least, fronts up immediately. ‘Harry and I have known each other for more than twenty years now, through good times’ – meaningful pause – ‘and bad.’ This, we know immediately, is not going to be a Paxman or Neil-esque interrogation, or a Maitlis-esque reputational demolition.
But the opportunity to see the Duke asked about the verisimilitude of many of the claims that he has made, both in his lamentable Netflix series and now in Spare, is an unmissable one. It is a shame that the results are so unedifying. It may not be as painfully dull as Harry and Meghan, but that is largely because it is shorter.
Bradby’s first question – ‘Why have you written this book?’ – is hardly a challenging one, and Harry’s response, ’38 years of having my story told by so many different people, with intentional spin…it felt a good time to own my story’, sticks closely to the line established ever since he and his wife’s quasi-abdication from the Royal Family in 2020. Nonetheless it allows him another chance to sneer at the family motto of ‘never complain, never explain’, and how emotionally crass and inadequate it has proved.