Violence, sex, betrayal: In his memoirs, Prince Harry (38) gave insights into the life and conflicts of the British royals that were previously unimaginable.
The book was not supposed to be published until January 10, but it accidentally ended up in bookstores in Spain on Thursday. Since then, the explosive details have made their way into the public eye and have made the British jaw drop.
There are already warnings that Harry could disenchant the British royal family and thus shake the entire monarchy. "This institution can only function with secrets and almost complete silence," columnist and television journalist Steve Richards told Sky News on Thursday evening.
Harry raises the most serious allegations in the book against his brother Prince William (40), who is said to have thrown him to the ground and injured him in an argument. The triggers were allegations against Harry's wife Meghan (41). The rivalry with the big brother is already indicated in the title of the book: "spare" (in German: "reserve"). That's what his father is said to have said about him after he was born, Harry claims, according to the reports. The once-inseparable brothers, who affectionately called each other "Willy" and "Harold," have long faced each other in bitter competition. Harry refers to William in the book as "beloved brother" and "biggest antagonist".
The death of his mother Diana is still on Harry's mind to this day
But he also conjures up ghosts from the past: the tragic circumstances of the death of his mother Diana, who died in an accident in Paris in 1997 while fleeing paparazzi, still concern him to this day. He does not believe the official investigation result. He accuses the royal family of not allowing William and himself to publicly demand a reopening of the investigation. His father King Charles III. (74) he attests emotional coldness. He didn't even hug him when he gave him the shocking news of his beloved mother's accident, Harry complains, according to the "Sun".
And Harry also reveals his mixed feelings about Diana's longtime rival, Camilla (75). This was known to him early on as his father's "other woman". After his mother's death, he feared she might turn out to be an "evil stepmother," the reports continued. Because she made Charles happy, he welcomed her into the family, Harry wrote. But the brothers' pleas that their father not marry again went unheeded. Charles and Camilla married in 2005. She is now the king's consort. Harry accuses her, like other royals, of secretly giving information to the press.
Drugs and first sex
According to reports about his own youth, Harry is even more frank. He admits to using cocaine at the age of 17 to "feel different". He claims to have had his first sex at the same age with a much older woman in a field behind a pub, who treated him "like a young stallion". It was a "humiliating episode," summed up Harry.
However, he also partly blames William and his wife Kate (40) for the biggest misstep of his younger years. They are said to have encouraged him to attend a disguise party in a Nazi costume in 2005 - photos of Harry with a swastika armband soon made the rounds in the press and triggered a scandal. Harry had to make a public apology.
Military service against Taliban
On the other hand, he feels no remorse for killing 25 Taliban fighters during his military service as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. "It wasn't something that made me happy, but I wasn't ashamed either," Harry wrote on Sky News.
The palace initially remained silent in the face of the allegations and revelations. But whether this can be sustained seems questionable. The details from the innermost circle of the otherwise tight-lipped British royal family, spread over almost 600 pages, are likely to dominate the headlines in Great Britain for days to come. There is already speculation that the palace could strip Harry and Meghan of their titles as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Whether it will come to that is uncertain, but one thing seems clear: reconciliation between the quarreling brothers is a long way off.