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Harry, Meghan, and what they could learn from George Costanza

With his new memoir ‘Spare,’ Prince Harry unintentionally proves less is more

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pose for pictures after visiting the observatory in One World Trade.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pose for pictures after visiting the observatory in One World Trade in New York on Sept. 23, 2021.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

If there is a side to be taken in the feud between the British royal family (or “The Firm” as dorks like me like to call them) and the now estranged Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan Markle, I’m probably team H&M.

But it’s a side I’m having more and more trouble claiming with every passing day.

I was very pro defectors after the infamous 2021 “Oprah” interview when Harry and Megan detailed the poor treatment they allegedly received sometimes from Harry’s family and almost always from the British press. I even looked past Meghan comparing herself to “The Little Mermaid” — she told Oprah that she felt like Ariel as a princess with no voice, “But in the end she gets her voice back.” 

The moment made me feel very squiggly-face emoji (🥴). Unfortunate analogy aside, I thought the couple did an excellent job detailing why they chose to leave the monarchy. It was brief, it was compelling and Oprah was there. They could not have hoped for a better hour.

There’s an episode of “Seinfeld” where George is in a business meeting and he cracks a joke. His coworkers react with vigorous laughter, prompting George to throw his hands in the air and declare, “All right! That’s it for me!” and then he exits the room.

“I knew I had hit my high note, so I thanked the crowd and I was gone,” George later tells Jerry.

In my opinion, the “Oprah” interview was the high note for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. And they would have done well to proverbially throw their hands in the air and declare, “All right! That’s it for us!”

Instead, Harry and Meghan released a six-part documentary series about their story as part of an estimated $100 million multiyear deal with Netflix. And my allegiance began to waver. It was the same story they told in the “Oprah” interview minus Oprah, with no new revelations, and stretched into six hours.

It could be an oversaturation problem of my own making. I’ve watched every season of “The Crown,” consumed multiple podcast series about the royal family, and read all 592 pages of Tina Brown’s “The Palace Papers.” So by the time “Harry & Meghan” premiered, I was hearing a lot of what I had already heard before. And it felt like a waste of time. But that’s what I get for being an obsessive, I thought. I was willing to own that.

Then Harry released his memoir “Spare,” and I realized it might not just be a me problem. It might be a them problem too.

Before the book was available for purchase, leaks appeared online. And I’ll say this — unlike the Netlix series, the book definitely has new information. But it’s the kind of information that makes one wish they hadn’t learned it. Every screenshot from the initial leaks made me want to crawl out of my own skin.

I have a higher-than-average tolerance for salacious details. Some might even accuse me of enjoying juicy gossip (I’m working on that). But this was still a lot for me.

I did not need to know about the frostbite from which he was suffering during his brother’s wedding for reasons I will not explain here. And I sincerely wish I had never learned about the time Harry hallucinated Courteney Cox’s toilet was speaking to him.

@bootlegmegz

Nonstop unneeded information being rammed behind my eyeballs or the last 10 days I’m begging you plz stop

♬ original sound - meg

The argument turned physical that Harry describes between himself and William feels like a story anyone in the world could tell about their sibling, and the detail about William breaking Harry’s necklace is so deeply humiliating that if it were my story, I would not share it at gunpoint.

But the section that has made my eyes roll to the back of my head, a position from which they may never return, is the bridesmaid dress debacle of Section 3, Chapter 46. Kate told Meghan princess Charlotte’s dress didn’t fit, Meghan told Kate the tailor was waiting. Kate said OK, and then Harry arrived home to find Meghan crying on the floor.

The thing is, if you haven’t collapsed on the floor in tears after a disagreement with a family member during wedding planning, you are the exception, not the rule. Harry describes additional arguments with Will and Kate, one featuring lipgloss Kate was reluctant to share, all of which sound like the standard quarrels that come with being related to other humans.

To be fair, there are parts of “Spare” that are genuinely moving and heartbreaking. Losing a mother as a young child is an unfathomable pain, and that pain radiates from the first section of the book (which is just as much a credit to the book’s ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer, as it is to Harry). The book also clearly lays out the public and private racism directed at Meghan that has been and continues to be abhorrent.

But Harry ultimately undercuts those very real tragedies and misdeeds by including details about his sibling, dad and extended families that make the reader ask, “So you mean to say you’re part of a family?”

Earlier in the “Seinfeld” episode, George is in a meeting with his colleagues and makes a useful suggestion. His boss tells him nice work and his co-workers pat him on the back. But then George follows it up with a bad joke and his co-workers quickly become annoyed.

“I had ’em, Jerry. They loved me,” George tells Jerry.

“And then?” Jerry asks.

“I lost ’em,” George says.

“Showmanship, George.” Jerry replies.

“When you hit that high note you say goodnight and you walk off.”