It's called "Spare" as most of English-speaking civilization knows by now. As in "an heir and a spare" which you'll recall was constantly mentioned as Princess Diana's natal responsibility when she married Prince Charles.
In other words, producing a future king and then an extra in case there was a problem. (See Edward the VII who abdicated to make room for George VI and then became the Duke of Windsor.)
That, as we all know, is Prince Charles, the eccentric who became King Charles when his mother, Queen Elizabeth II died after being the longest-serving monarch in British history.
The assumption now, then, from his book's title is that Prince Harry is now No. 2 in Britain's order of royal succession.
Not so. That would be too simple. Harry is No. 6 in line, which is "spare" indeed. Among others, his brother William's kids are ahead of him.
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Under those circumstances, many of us might cast about for a solid purpose in life.
I haven't read Prince Harry's new book that just went on sale. I have, though, followed every second of American TV's Harry-a-Thon intended (smartly) to sell the bejabbers out of books. And, just as important, I've read every major review of the book in the British press.
That last brings up my only reservation about Harry's "here I am folks" publicity blitz. In talking to us open-hearted Americans, he constantly referred to the problems that he and his wife Meghan (Markle) had with "the British press."
Sorry. That's a misnomer. It's not nearly precise enough. He doesn't mean the WHOLE British press. He means the British tabloid press which is indeed one of the major scandals of the English speaking world.
We're talking about (in order of circulation) the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Daily Mirror, Sunday People and the Daily Star.
We're talking about the Western world's leading proponents of schadenfreude (pleasure in others' pain) as a religious principle.
Now that he is, himself, as American as the Super Bowl and the next "John Wick" movie, it is Harry's major purpose to educate the rest of us to what he maintains is the premier scandal of British life – that there is a tacit partnership of "The Palace" (the royal family, amanuenses and employees) and Tabloid Tattletale Press. He reserves special distaste for his stepmother, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Charles' longtime lover and second wife after Charles and Diana divorced and she was killed horrifically when Press Predators chased her in the form the Italians named "paparazzi." (Said Harry to Stephen Colbert: "The last thing my mother saw on this earth was a flashbulb.")
What Harry is telling us is that "The Palace" feeds (i.e. leaks) informational ugliness to the Brit tabloids so that it can be devoured by tabloid readers as part of their breakfast diet of rashers and outrage. I wish he'd been clearer about those with whom he has a beef. We're not talking about the Times, the Guardian and the Independent here. The truth value of such tales is sharky at best, says Harry, and downright shoddy often.
In the last leg of the Harry-a-Thon, the 38-year-old prince was asked, quite properly by Colbert, about why the British tabloids seem so vituperative to those of us on this side of the pond.
We might speculate about the influence of Rupert Murdoch, of Australia which, once upon a time, was used as a British penal colony. But then that would be using the British tabloids' own broad brush to paint over their mysterious slashings.
The constituent pieces of the Harry-a-Thon in America were: "60 Minutes," where he was interviewed by Anderson Cooper; "CBS Mornings," where "60 Minutes" was cannibalized freely; "Good Morning America," where he was interviewed by Michael Strahan (the only sackmeister of the New York Giants to ever interview a member of the royal family); and, finally, on Colbert's late-night show, which was a weirdly demeaning combination of empathy, sensitivity, intelligence and PG-rated middle school pseudo-smut.
In other words, some of the supposedly scandalous bullet points in Harry's memoir in the eyes of insensitive and exploitative critics of his book – Harry's difficulties with his more private regions, for instance, after encountering the temperatures of the North Pole.
The British tabloid press somehow turned that tale into Harry's braggadocio and/or socially offensive ribaldry. Over here, we Americans were simply likely to find it self-deprecating and funny.
Before the Harry-a-Thon was over, the familiar bullet points of "Spare" were explored, especially his report of the violent argument he once had with brother William over his marriage to Meghan. As the world knows now, Harry tells us William pushed him to the floor, where Harry broke the dog's dish which caused a cut from a shard.
Nobody ever said that older and younger brothers are guaranteed lives of smooth sailing but add many millions of dollars and tons of entitlement and a future throne to the mix along with the younger brother's interracial marriage and the quotient of drama to ordinary sibling rivalry is upped considerably.
William, as the book tells us, also ripped off Harry's necklace at the time. He showed Colbert what it contains – a couple of readings of his kids' heartbeats which Meghan gave him and an amulet given to him in Botswana, where the two of them were happy.
The other dramatic point insisted on by Harry was his surprise at what he considered the racist subtext of the British tabloid press.
To any American who would be likely to find Harry's resentment automatically sympathetic, it's surprising to discover some of Harry's critics – the BBC's Sean Coughlan, for instance – calling the book the "longest angry drunk text ever sent." Coughlan also notes sniffishly "something bizarre on every page."
Harry's co-writer was the American author of "The Tender Bar," J.R. Moeringer. Lucy Davia in the Independent wrote that it's "at times beautifully written ... If Harry is going to set fire to his family, he's at least going to do it with some style." (At one point in the book, he describes his great-aunt Princess Margaret as a woman who "could kill a houseplant with a scowl.")
It's hard for even the most sensitive Americans not to envy Harry the money and entitlement of being in the Windsor bloodline but, at the same time, it seems impossible not to notice that the job of being a royal is, to put it quite bluntly, a lousy one.
You have to symbolize at every moment in the world the intrinsic high value of your family which, as history is happy to tell us, is often a lot of hooey (Edward VII, for one, gave up his throne for love of divorcee Wallis Simpson, putting brother George VI on it and earning the reputation for the rest of his life as a secret Nazi sympathizer.)
After catching Harry's three-day act on American interview TV, I must confess to thinking his countrymen thoroughly daft in rejecting his 24K charms as he tells us his only intention was to insist on the truths of his own life.
Who can resist Harry telling the truth that his grandmother the queen wore earplugs rather than listen to the work of rock guitarist Brian May of Queen.
But then we Americans have to remember at all times that Harry is not only one of us now but a voluble proponent of the proposition that "America is a great place to live."
Especially if you're a charming Windsor family dropout.
He lives now in a nation which rebelled against his former homeland.
For anyone who has ever visited England, it's odd to notice how often in pubs or on the street that one hears resentments and complaints.
If I were a young Brit, I'd be fond of this 38-year-old ginger-haired rebel. I'd certainly like to know that he and his father and brother in the main line of the King Connection got on better than they now seem to.
But I might be every bit as convinced as an American senior citizen that the Royal Rebel represented his country's possible future pretty well.
Even though he's only No. 6 in line.