If ever Prince Harry writes another volume of memoir, he may choose to look back on 2023 as his annus horribilis. The year began in high-profile fashion, with the publication of his autobiography Spare. This book swiftly became the fastest-selling non-fiction work of all time; he marked its appearance with promotional interviews that alternated between defensive, irritable and unduly arrogant. Yet Harry’s year is ending with myriad humiliations. These include losing one of his apparently innumerable court cases, he and his wife, Meghan Markle, being described as the ‘biggest Hollywood losers’ and a much-ridiculed video clip of the various endeavours of their charitable foundation Archewell over the past twelve months.
If one was to be generous, you might feel sorry for Harry and Meghan. A strange emotion, granted, to bear towards two fabulously wealthy people who lead a life of privilege and luxury that most people could not even begin to conceive. Yet ever since their quasi-abdication from the Royal Family in early 2020 – an event that would have been the year’s most talked-about occurrence, had it not been then wholly overshadowed by the pandemic – there is a sense that they are both desperately peddling anything they can in a bid to remain both relevant and a global brand.
Famously, the motto of Harry’s family is ‘never complain, never explain’. He has ignored both parts of that adage, and has spent countless time both complaining and explaining. Now, the world has listened, and it has decided that it is thoroughly sick of both him and his wife.
There have been countless missteps. This suggests that Harry and Meghan are in desperate need either of better advisers or of actually listening to the people who they presumably pay handsomely for their counsel.