Harry recounts a 2019 row at his Kensington Palace home in which he says William called Harry’s wife, former actor Meghan Markle, “difficult,” “rude” and “abrasive.” Harry said William grabbed his brother by the collar and tore his chain before knocking him down.
“I landed on the dog’s bowl, which burst under my back and the bits cut into me,” says Harry in the passage, first reported by The Guardian.
Harry says he had abrasions and bruises as a result of the struggle, for which William later apologised.
The accusation is one of many in a book that exposes painful, intimate – and in some cases disputed – details about the lives of Harry and other members of the royal family. The memoir is the latest in a series of public revelations and accusations from Harry and Meghan that have shocked the British royal family.
It includes Harry’s claim that he killed 25 people in 2012 while serving as co-pilot and gunner on an Apache helicopter as part of the UK’s military campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. He said he felt neither pride nor shame about his actions, and in the heat of battle he viewed enemy combatants as pieces removed from a chessboard.
Harry spent ten years in the British Army – years he describes as his happiest because they allowed him a modicum of normalcy – before taking up full-time royal duties in 2015.
The book tells of Harry’s decades of disenchantment with his privileged, scrutinized and limited royal life. In it, he alludes to the title of the book and recounts the alleged words of his father, then Prince Charles, to his mother, Princess Diana, on the day of his birth: “Great! Now you have given me an heir and a reserve – my work is done.
While William was destined to be king from birth, Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne behind his brother and William’s three children, often seems to struggle with the more ambiguous role of “reserve.”
In the book, Harry describes his rebellious teenage years. He tells how he lost his virginity – to an elderly woman in a field behind a pub – and describes how he used cocaine when he was 17.
Neither Buckingham Palace, which represents King Charles III, nor William’s Kensington Palace office has commented on the allegations.
Harry, 38, and the American actor got married in May 2018 at Windsor Castle. Less than two years later, the couple quit royal duties and moved to California, citing what they saw as the media’s racist treatment of Meghan, who is biracial, and a lack of support from the palace.
They have since presented their side of the story in an interview with Oprah Winfrey and a six-part Netflix documentary released last month that chronicled the couple’s bloody relationship with the British media and estrangement from the royal family.
In the series, Harry said William yelled at him at a family gathering, accusing palace officials of lying to protect his older brother, who is now heir to the throne. Meghan, 41, said she wanted to take her own life as she struggled to cope with the toxic press coverage.
Harry has recorded interviews with various broadcasters in Britain and the United States to promote the book.
In clips released ahead of time, Harry told Britain’s ITV that the royals had cast him and Meghan as “villains” and “showed absolutely no willingness to reconcile.” In an interview with CBS, he said the palace’s refusal to defend him and Meghan from attack was a “betrayal”.
Palace officials have declined to comment on Meghan and Harry’s allegations.
Since Harry and Meghan parted ways with the royal family in 2020, the couple have built a new life as US-based charity campaigners and media personalities.
Harry has spoken of his desire for reconciliation with his brother and father, who became King Charles III when Queen Elizabeth II died in September at the age of 96. The torrid revelations in the book will likely make that more difficult.
Asked by ITV’s Tom Bradby if he will play a role in the future of the British monarchy, Harry said: “I don’t know.”