TK Maxx bargains, smoking joints and meeting supermodels: Some of the revelations in Price Harry's memoir Spare

From TK Maxx bargains to smoking joints and meeting supermodels. There are a few revelations in Prince Harry's memoir Spare, out today, that haven't been discussed yet, and we've put them together in one place.

Harry’s Book for sale in Tesco, Ellesmere.
Harry’s Book for sale in Tesco, Ellesmere.

Dating Meghan

Harry reveals it was Meghan who sent the first message at the beginning of their romance.

A mutual friend helped to connect the pair after the duke spotted Meghan on the pal’s Instagram account.

The friend, called Violet, asked Harry if it would be OK to give Meghan his Instagram handle, to which he agreed.

He received a message from Meghan complimenting his Instagram page which he said was mostly photos of Africa. He says they exchanged phone numbers and began texting “late into the night”, adding that this began on July 1 2016 – his mother’s 55th birthday.

Harry’s love of TK Maxx

Despite receiving an official clothing allowance from his father, Harry would shop for his “everyday casual clothes” in TK Maxx.

The duke said that he was “particularly fond” of the discount store’s annual sale, where he could buy designer items at cheaper prices.

He shared his “system” for snagging bargains and optimising his time spent shopping.

“Each year I received from Pa an official clothing allowance, but that was strictly for formal wear. Suits and ties, ceremonial outfits,” he wrote.

“For my everyday casual clothes I’d go to TK Maxx, the discount store.

“I was particularly fond of their once-a-year sale, when they’d be flush with items from Gap or J Crew, items that had just gone out of season or were slightly damaged.”

Describing his shopping operation, he continued: “If you timed it just right, got there on the first day of the sale, you could snag the same clothes that others were paying top prices for down the high street!

“With two hundred quid you could look like a fashion plate.”

Harry added that he would aim to get to the shop 15 minutes before closing time and work his way “systematically” down the racks.

Queen’s Trump question

The Duchess of Sussex was quizzed by the Queen about her opinion of Donald Trump the first time the two women met.

Reflecting on the meeting, Harry writes: “It was all very pleasant. Granny even asked Meg what she thought of Donald Trump. (This was before the November 2016 election, so everyone in the world seemed to be thinking and talking about the Republican candidate.)

“Meg thought politics a no-win game, so she changed the subject to Canada.”

Harry said his grandmother “squinted” and said to Meghan: ‘I thought you were American,’ Meghan replied: ‘I am, but I’ve been living in Canada for seven years for work.’

Harry then writes: “Granny looked pleased. Commonwealth. Good, fine.”

After about 20 minutes, the Queen announced she had to leave, Harry writes.

He adds: “My uncle Andrew, seated beside her, holding her handbag, began to escort her out.”

He goes on to write: “After a moment Meg asked me something about the Queen’s assistant. I asked who she was talking about,” and when she mentions “That man who walked her to the door,” he tells her “That was her second son, Andrew.”

Charles the father

There is both criticism of Charles’ parenting skills and loving praise for his father from Harry.

He describes the King as liking “his routines”, adding: “He wasn’t the kind of father who played endless rounds of tag, or tossed a ball long after dark.”

But when a picture of Harry romping naked in Las Vegas, just weeks before his deployment to Afghanistan, is splashed across the newspapers, he says Charles, to his surprise and relief, was gentle: “He felt for me, he said, he’d been there, though he’d never been naked on a front page.”

Celebrity safe house

The Duke of Sussex said Tyler Perry offered him his Los Angeles house to stay in because his own mother had “loved” Diana.

Harry said that the US actor and comedian had made the “generous” offer as he and Meghan sought to travel to America from Canada amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

Perry, who is known for multiple US television shows, revealed that after Diana’s famous visit to Harlem, New York in 1989, she could “do no wrong” in the eyes of his own mother. During her visit at the time of the US Aids epidemic Diana visited hospitals and spoke to victims of the deadly disease.

Harry said that Perry had previously sent a message of support to Meghan before their wedding in 2018, and offered them his gated house in March 2020 on FaceTime.

“It was too much. Too generous,” he said. “I asked why he was doing this. ‘My mother’. Your...? ‘My mother loved your mother’. I was caught completely by surprise. He said: ‘After your mother visited Harlem, that was it. She could do no wrong in Maxine Perry’s book’.

“He went on to say that his mother had died 10 years earlier, that he was still grieving. I wanted to tell him it gets easier. I didn’t.”

Smoking joints

Harry reveals he would “roll a joint” at night when he and his family were staying in Los Angeles in 2020.

“Late at night, with everyone asleep, I’d walk the house, checking the doors and windows,” he writes. “Then I’d sit on the balcony or the edge of the garden and roll a joint.”

Harry also reflects on sharing a “spliff” with friends in his Eton days in “a tiny upstairs bathroom, wherein we’d implement a surprisingly thoughtful, orderly assembly line”. He writes: “I knew this was bad behaviour. I knew it was wrong. My mates knew too. We talked about it often, while stoned, how stupid we were to be wasting an Eton education.”

Taj Mahal picture

The Duke of Sussex told his wife not to take a photo in front of the Taj Mahal as he did not want people to think she was mimicking his mother.

In 1992, Diana, Princess of Wales was pictured sitting alone at the famous landmark on a tour of India, in an image considered symbolic of the state of her relationship with Charles.

Harry says he and Meghan laughed about the advice he gave her ahead of a trip she was taking to India.

“Do not take a photo in front of the Taj Mahal. She’d asked why and I’d said: My mum,” he wrote.

“I’d explained that my mother had posed for a photo there, and it had become iconic, and I didn’t want anyone thinking Meg was trying to mimic my mother.

“Meg had never heard of this photo, and found the whole thing baffling, and I loved her for being baffled.”

Meghan went to India with World Vision, working on menstrual health management and education access for young girls, according to the memoir.

She then took her mother Doria Ragland on a yoga retreat in Goa to celebrate her 60th birthday.

Meeting supermodels

The Duke of Sussex revealed meeting supermodels like Cindy Crawford when he was going through puberty was “very confusing”.

He said he and his brother William were introduced to Crawford, now 56, Christy Turlington, 54 and Claudia Schiffer, 52, by his mother when he was a teenager.

He writes: “Very confusing. Especially for two shy boys, at or about the age of puberty”.

Elton’s song

Harry said he felt “numb” before his mother’s funeral but was nearly brought to tears while listening to Sir Elton John perform during the service. He writes: “I do have one pure, indisputable memory of the song climaxing and my eyes starting to sting and tears nearly falling. Nearly.”

The 75-year-old veteran musician was a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales and famously performed an adapted version of his song Candle In The Wind to reflect her life at her Westminster Abbey funeral.

Following Diana’s death in 1997, Sir Elton remained a friend to her sons William, 40, and Harry, 38, over the years and attended both their royal weddings alongside his husband, David Furnish.

Writing in his memoir Spare, Harry recounted his 12-year-old-self “feeling numb” as he walked with his brother behind his mother’s coffin before reaching the Abbey in London.

He said: “The funeral began with a series of readings and eulogies, and culminated with Elton John.

“He rose slowly, stiffly, as if he was one of the great kings buried for centuries beneath the abbey, suddenly roused back to life. He walked to the front, seated himself at a grand piano.

“Is there anyone who doesn’t know that he sang Candle in the Wind, a version he’d reworked for Mummy? I can’t be sure the notes in my head are from that moment or from clips I’ve seen since. Possibly they’re vestiges of recurring nightmares.

“But I do have one pure, indisputable memory of the song climaxing and my eyes starting to sting and tears nearly falling. Nearly.”

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