Prince Harry recalls his relationship with his late great aunt, Princess Margaret, in his new memoir Spare.
The Duke of Sussex’s tell-all memoir that details family feuds, adolescent rebellion and the inner workings of the royal family, has officially been released today (10 January), after being leaked five days prior.
In it, Harry discusses his relationship with his great aunt, Princess Margeret, Queen Elizabeth II’s sister who died in 2002.
Recalling his early memories of “Aunt Margo”, Prince Harry explains that he felt “nothing for her, except a bit of pity and a lot of jumpiness”.
“She could kill a houseplant with one scowl,” he wrote in the ghostwritten autobiography.
Describing Princess Margaret as displaying “coldness” towards him, Harry went on to recall a Christmas Eve spent at the Sandringham Estate, the royal family’s country residence, where his great-aunt gifted him an unusual present.
“Standing before my pile, I chose to open the smallest present first,” wrote Harry. “The tag said: ‘From Aunt Margo.’”
“I looked over, called out: ‘Thank you, Aunt Margo!’”
“I do hope you liked it, Harry,” she reportedly replied.
“I tore of the paper,” described the duke. “It was… A biro?”
“I said: ‘Oh. A biro. Wow.’”
“She said: ‘Yes. A biro.’”
“But it wasn’t just any biro, she pointed out. It had a tiny rubber fish wrapped around it.”
“I said: ‘Oh. A fish biro! OK.’”
“I told myself: That is cold-blooded.”
The Duke of Sussex then explained a revelation he experienced as he grew older: “It struck me that Aunt Margo and I should’ve been friends. We had so much in common. Two Spares.”
“Her relationship with Granny wasn’t an exact analogue of mine with Willy, but pretty close,” he wrote, referring to his brother, William, who is now the Prince of Wales. “The simmering rivalry, the intense competition (driven largely by the older sibling), it all looked familiar.”
Harry then compared his mother, Princess Diana, to Princess Margaret.
“Aunt Margo also wasn’t that dissimilar from Mummy. Both rebels, both labelled as sirens. (Pablo Picasso was among the many men obsessed with Margo).”
Recalling when Princess Margaret fell ill before her death in 2002, the duke wrote that “she was unable to care for herself. After badly burning her feet in a bath, she was confined to a wheelchair, and said to be swiftly declining.”
Elsewhere in Spare, Harry claims that Prince William physically attacked him, reveals the moment he learnt of his mother’s death and admits to illegal drug use.