May 25, 2024

Prince Harry prides himself as a feminist

But now the book has actually been published, what else have we learned? Much of the narrative is concerned with the impact of the media intrusion into his life and the lives of his loved ones, particularly his mother, Princess Diana, whose death he attributes to being chased by the paparazzi.

He also describes his brief relationship with the late Caroline Flack, whom the tabloids branded his “bit of rough,” and says the scrutiny drove them apart. He reflects on another encounter on a night out with a girl he later learned was a «page-three girl» – a term he describes as “the accepted, misogynistic, objectifying term for young topless women featured each day on page three of Rupert Murdoch’s the Sun. ” He adds, “I wouldn’t have cared if I’d known. She seemed smart and fun. ”

His former girlfriends Chelsy Davey and Cressida Bonas are also described as hating being followed by paparazzi and dissected mercilessly in the press, contributing to the end of both relationships.

And then, of course, there’s his account of the ordeal experienced by Meghan when she became his girlfriend and was subjected to endless negative stories about everything from her love of avocados to the way she cradled her baby bump.

Following the appearance of Kate and Meghan together at the Royal Foundation Forum in February 2018, he writes that there was controversy about Meghan showing support for #MeToo and Kate not, which put Kate “and everyone else on notice that she was going to be compared to, and forced to compete with, Meg. ”

Elsewhere, he writes that Camilla and Kate had also experienced harassment when they joined the Royal Family. But despite all these very clear instances of sexism, he stops short of exploring in any detail why exactly women in their position are put through this treatment. In fact, at times – most notably, when he expresses his fears that Camilla might be a classic ‘wicked stepmother’, and accuses her of ‘dangerous’ media manipulation – he could be seen as perpetuating damaging stereotypes about women himself.

In the past, he has described the term ‘Megxit’ as fundamentally «misogynistic», suggesting it was Meghan who was scheming to ensure the couple quit their royal duties. In his interview with Tom Bradby last weekend, he touched again on the sexism inherent in Meghan’s portrayal as the one who drove a wedge between him and William. In Spare, however, these ideas get no airtime.

Perhaps he felt that as a man – and a particularly privileged one – it wasn’t his place to delve into feminist issues. But someone in the unique position of having witnessed up-close so many women being torn to shreds publicly – someone we know is a supporter of women’s rights – must have more to say about sexism than a couple of brief references to the word.

He is open about hating the tabloid media, which he calls the “devil,” telling Tom Bradby it’s “at the epicentre of so many problems across the UK. ” It’s a shame, though, that he didn’t take the opportunity to examine why the public is so eager to read stories pitting two Royal women against one another or which perpetuate the idea that a woman must be to blame for tearing a family apart.

He clearly sees a great deal of his late mother’s spirit in Meghan, but again, it would have been fascinating to hear his thoughts about why we build up beautiful, charismatic women like them and tear them down.

How has Meghan, an outspoken feminist, shaped his views on women? Does he think her feminism was part of the reason for the way she was treated? What did he learn about female leaders from his grandmother, the Queen? These are all questions that, disappointingly, Spare doesn’t even try to answer.

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