Days before its release, the Duke of Sussex’s memoir, Spare, already began to dominate the news cycle after The Guardian revealed that it described a physical altercation between Harry and the Prince of Wales at Nottingham Cottage. Based on translations from the Spanish edition, which accidentally went on sale early, the rest of the memoir is similarly no-holds-barred in scope—with Harry detailing everything from his early experimentation with drugs to his strained relationship with King Charles III over the course of its 416 pages. (Notably, neither Buckingham Palace nor Kensington Palace has commented on any of the claims in the book so far.) Below, a summary of Spare’s most headline-making claims.
The Duke of Sussex lost his virginity in a field as a teenager
While several of Harry’s moments of teenage rebellion made the papers in real time—as highlighted in Netflix’s Harry & Meghan—many others apparently did not. In Spare, the Duke explains that he lost his virginity “with an older woman who liked macho horses and who treated me like a young stallion.” “I mounted her quickly, after which she spanked my ass and sent me away,” he continues. “One of my many mistakes was letting it happen in a field, just behind a very busy pub. No doubt someone had seen us.”
His drug use began as a teenager and continued until at least 2016
Harry is intentionally candid about his drug taking in the book—including trying cocaine for the first time aged 17 during a visit to a friend’s country house. “I’d been offered a line and I’d done a few more since,” he recalls. He likewise opens up about smoking marijuana both at Eton and in the grounds of Kensington Palace. “After dinner, I’d smoke a joint, making sure that the smoke didn’t reach the garden of my neighbour, the Duke of Kent,” he says of his life in 2015, a period during which he had given up partying. “Then I’d go to bed early.”
The most surreal point in Spare, though, is Harry’s description of taking “black diamond mushroom chocolates” during a 2016 party in California and washing them down with tequila, before imagining a pedal bin smiling at him. Said party’s location? Friends star Courteney Cox’s house, on whom he had a crush. “I was still confused because… she was a Monica, and I was a Chandler,” he explains. “I wondered if I’d ever work up the courage to tell her. Was there enough tequila in California to get me that brave?”
The relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales has reportedly always been strained
Despite the media depicting William and Harry as each other’s greatest supporters before the Duke of Sussex’s 2018 wedding (and Harry himself comparing them to George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men in Spare), the Duke of Sussex highlights their competitiveness over the course of their lives, referring to the Prince of Wales as his “arch-nemesis” at one point. “There has always been this competition between us, weirdly,” Harry reaffirms in a clip from his forthcoming interview on Good Morning America. “I think it really plays into, or is always played by, the heir/spare.”
The tension between Harry and King Charles is gone into in detail, too
Harry writes that, following his birth, Charles told Diana, Princess of Wales, “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare—my work is done,” and that the now-king failed to hug the Duke of Sussex when Diana died. “My dear son, Mum has had a car accident,” Harry recalls him saying. “There have been complications.” Harry continues: “He wasn’t great at showing emotions under normal circumstances. How could he be expected to show them in such a crisis?”
Another point of contention for the Duke: Charles joking about his paternity. “Pa liked telling stories, and this was one of the best in his repertoire. He’d always end with a burst of philosophising… Who knows if I’m really the Prince of Wales? Who knows if I’m even your real father? He’d laugh and laugh, though it was a remarkably unfunny joke, given the rumour circulating just then that my actual father was one of Mummy’s former lovers: Major James Hewitt. One cause of this rumour was Major Hewitt’s flaming ginger hair, but another cause was sadism.”
Harry claims the Prince and Princess of Wales encouraged him to wear a Nazi costume
After owning his decision to wear a Nazi uniform to a Halloween party in 2005 during Harry & Meghan (“probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life”), Harry writes in Spare that the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly encouraged him to wear it. “I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought,” he writes. “They both howled. Worse than Willy’s leotard outfit. Way more ridiculous! Which, again, was the point.”
The Duke of Sussex reportedly begged Charles not to marry Camilla
Harry refers to his stepmother as the Other Woman in Spare, claiming that both he and William told their father they would forgive Camilla and welcome her into the family if Charles promised never to marry her. “‘You do not need to remarry,’ we begged him. A wedding would… make the whole country, the whole world, compare our mother and Camilla, something that nobody wanted.” The Queen Consort, however, had supposedly already launched “a campaign directed towards marriage and, with time, the crown,” with Charles ignoring his sons’ pleas. In a particularly striking passage, Harry compares meeting Camilla for the first time to “getting an injection”—“close your eyes and you won’t even feel it”—while elsewhere he expresses his resentment that the Queen Consort transformed his bedroom into a dressing room after he moved out of Clarence House.
The Duke of Sussex is responsible for the deaths of 25 Taliban fighters
Harry is, of course, a veteran, doing two tours of duty in Afghanistan during his 10 years in the army. In a controversial passage, he claims in Spare that he can say “with exactness how many enemy combatants I had killed”: 25. “It’s not a number that fills me with satisfaction, but nor does it embarrass me,” he writes, noting that he chose to see Taliban fighters as “chess pieces removed from the board” because “you can’t kill people if you see them as people.”
The Prince and Princess Of Wales were massive Suits fans before Harry met Meghan
Harry describes telling the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about his budding relationship with Meghan over dinner at his brother’s home. “Their mouths fell open,” when he revealed his new girlfriend’s identity, he writes. “They turned to each other. Then Willy turned to me and said, ‘F–k off?’” They were, according to Harry, “regular—nay, religious—viewers of Suits… all this time I’d thought Willy and Kate might not welcome Meg into the family, but now I had to worry about them hounding her for an autograph.” For his part, Harry regretted Googling Meghan’s sex scenes for the series. “[I] witnessed her and a castmate mauling each other in some sort of office or conference room… It would take electric shock therapy to get those images out of my head.”
William cautioning Harry about moving too quickly with Meghan precipitated further fractures in their relationship
As reported previously, William did indeed tell Harry to “slow down” with Meghan, according to Spare. “She’s an American actress after all, Harold,” he reportedly said, using his nickname for Harry. “Anything might happen.” Yet the future Duke and Duchess of Sussex got engaged after just over a year of dating regardless. As outlined in almost excruciating detail, the tension between William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan only escalated from there. For her part, the Duchess of Cambridge allegedly took offence to everything from the Duchess of Sussex’s request to borrow a lip gloss before a joint appearance to a comment that she had “baby brain” while pregnant with Prince Louis. Meanwhile, Meghan was reduced to tears “on the floor” after Kate objected to the size of Princess Charlotte’s bridesmaid dress and requested it be remade four days before the Sussexes’ 2018 wedding.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com