Prince Harry and Meghan Markle set the record straight during a 2021 “Oprah” interview when they shared the reasons they left their royal duties behind. Since then, the pair has done dozens of interviews, a six-part docuseries and most recently, Harry published his memoir, “Spare.”
In Harry’s own words, he wanted to give the public a “firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful,” per the Deseret News.
And Harry’s “firsthand accounts” have proven to be a commercial success. He and Meghan got paid a reported $100 million to film their Netflix docuseries, “Harry & Meghan.” And “Spare” had record-breaking sales, as reported by the Deseret News.
But with every additional attempt made by the ex-royal couple to share their story, their popularity takes a hit.
Harry’s popularity took a nosedive after ‘Spare’
Since the release of “Harry & Meghan” the estranged royal couple has maintained dominance over news headlines — some of which criticize the pair for sharing a story we have already heard.
“They say they want to be able to tell their story, a story they feel they weren’t allowed to tell before, but now seem to tell professionally for a living,” Jessie Thompson wrote in The Independent.
Harry has been ridiculed over his reveals in “Spare.” In a skit called “Two Princes,” Jimmy Kimmel mocked Harry’s physical altercation with Prince William — which he describes in his memoir.
Sean Coughlan, a royal correspondent described “Spare” as “part confession, part rant and part love letter. In places it feels like the longest angry drunk text ever sent,” per the BBC.
At the beginning of December, 43% of Americans believed Harry and Meghan should keep their royal titles. In light of their Netflix series and Harry’s memoir, that statistic has flipped. Now, 45% of Americans believe the couple should be stripped of their royal titles, with 26% believing they should keep the titles, according to Newsweek.
A Newsweek poll found that Prince Harry has dropped 45 percentage points in U.S. popularity in just about a month. And almost half of Americans, 44%, believe Harry revealed too many personal details in his memoir.
According to a recent YouGov poll, Harry’s favorability hit a new low after he released “Spare.” The poll found that 64% of British residents have a negative view of Harry, up from 59% before the release of his book.
Did Harry’s memoir affect other royals?
Since December, the popularity of royals has fallen in the U.S. According to a YouGov poll, both Kate Middleton’s and Prince William’s popularity has fallen by 11 percentage points. King Charles’ and Camilla’s popularity has also decreased during the past month.
But it was never Harry’s intention to hurt any of his family members. “Nothing of what I’ve done in this book or otherwise has ever been with any intention to harm them or hurt them,” Harry explained during his ITV interview with Tom Bradby. “I want reconciliation. But first, there needs to be some accountability.”
Harry and Meghan’s fans are defending them
Harry’s and Meghan’s loyal fans aren’t ready to turn on the couple and many have defended them online.
One fan wrote on Twitter, “You know what has bothered me the most about the Prince Harry story, it’s how his own family chose to make him the scapegoat for all their improprieties and expected him to take it for the rest of his life. Shame on all of them and the British Press. He is the real victim here.”
Critics have praised them, as well. In reference to the couple’s Netflix series, Daniel D’Addario from Variety highlighted Harry and Meghan’s efforts to help their community. “Harry and Meghan are people who strive to do good: Harry’s work with veterans, for instance, is admirable, and we see it onscreen as the one time he’s truly at ease.”
A lot of critics have praised “Spare” for being beautifully written. Prince Harry’s ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer, previously ghostwrote memoirs for tennis star Andre Agassi and Nike founder Phil Knight, per CNBC News.
“Whatever you think of the content, there’s no denying ‘Spare’ is unflinching, introspective, and well-written,” Eliania Dockterman wrote in Time.