The contentious relationship between Prince Harry (he/him) and the British press has received much media attention over the last few years. In Spare, Harry’s new memoir, as well as the six part Netflix documentary titled Harry & Meghan that released in December, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle (she/her) are more public about how they feel they and their families have been mistreated by the British press.
In the weeks before the book’s release, the Spanish translation leaked. This led to many articles based on translations of the Spanish passages back into English.
In the wake of the leak, some British media outlets published provocative articles. The Telegraph released a story with the headline “Prince Harry accused of ‘betraying the military’ and endangering serving soldiers after Taliban kill claim.” The Sun ran a headline reading, “From his infamous Nazi outfit to racial slurs, why nothing is ever the fault of Prince Harry.”
After quotes from Spare started being leaked by the British press, Prince Harry came out against them. In an interview given on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on January 10th, Harry told Colbert (he/him):
“Context is everything…after spending two years focused on context and what I am going to share, how… to share it, and being able to piece it all together, they intentionally chose to strip away all the context and take out individual segments of my life, my story, and every experience I’ve had, and turn it into a salacious headline.”
One portion of the memoir that spawned particular outrage concerned what Harry wrote about his time serving in the British military. A BBC article published on January 6 details the number of people Harry says he killed while in Afghanistan and his assertion that he was trained not to view the enemy as people. In the article, Harry’s ex-military commander criticizes his comments. “That’s not how you behave in the Army; it’s not how we think,” the ex-commander stated. “He has badly let the side down. We don’t do notches on the rifle butt. We never did.”
Harry responded to this outrage in the Colbert interview, saying, “Without a doubt, the most dangerous lie that they have told is that I somehow boasted about the number of people that I killed in Afghanistan… because they had the context. It wasn’t like ‘here’s just one line.’ They had the whole section. They ripped it away and just said here it is, he’s boasting on this.”