A member of the public poses in his front room in Manchester, north-west England, watching a television interview broadcast on ITV, being given by Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex on January 8, 2023, ahead of the publication of his book, 'Spare'. Image Credit: AFP

London: Prince Harry said on Sunday he decided to publish his memoirs to defend himself against years of tabloid spin, as British television aired his first interview on the book's explosive revelations.

"Thirty-eight years. 38 years of having my story told by so many different people with intentional spin and distortion felt like a good time to own my story and be able to tell it for myself," he told British channel ITV.

But the fallout from the 38-year-old's revelations has cast doubt on his future in the royal family.

Although the Duke of Sussex's ghost-written book "Spare" officially launches Tuesday, its contents were widely leaked after it was mistakenly put on sale early in Spain.

"I fled my home country with my wife and my son fearing for our lives," Harry told British channel ITV of his move to California two years ago, referring to the British media as "the antagonist".

He repeated accusations of the royal family being "complicit" in hostile tabloid reports about him and his wife Meghan.

The book includes an allegation that his brother Prince William, the heir to the throne, attacked him during a row about Meghan; and an admission of drug use.

Highlights of Prince Harry's interview

The ITV programme "Harry: The Interview" featured the prince reading extracts from the audiobook of his memoirs, which he narrates himself.

In one, he tells movingly of how his father broke the news of the 1997 death of his mother princess Diana in a car crash to his "darling boy".

‘Cried once'

Harry revealed he only "cried once" after Diana was killed and said he felt guilty at being unable to express grief while greeting crowds of mourners whose hands were wet with tears.

He also talked about later going to see the route Diana's car took before the crash, asking a driver to take him through the road tunnel in Paris at the same speed.

"I've been asked if I want to open up another inquiry," Harry said of Diana's death. "I don't really see the point at this stage."

But he admitted he still had lingering questions.

The book focuses on his combative relationship with William, saying his elder brother physically attacked him as they argued over Meghan.

"I've been asked if I want to open up another inquiry. "I don't really see the point at this stage."

- Prince Harry

"I saw this red mist in him", Harry told ITV. "I want reconciliation, but first there has to be accountability."

The prince dismissed media reports he and Meghan had at first got on well with William and his wife Kate.

Tabloid description of the couples as the "Fab Four", he said, "was something that the British press created".

William "never tried to dissuade me from marrying Meghan, but he aired some concerns", Harry added.

A member of the public poses in his front room in Manchester, north-west England, watching a television interview broadcast on ITV, being given by Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex on January 8, 2023, ahead of the publication of his book, 'Spare'. Image Credit: AFP

Not Racist'

Prince Harry said that he did not view as "racist" a royal family member inquiring about the skin colour of his and his wife Meghan's unborn baby.

The prince and Meghan had told the story of an unnamed royal repeatedly asking about the skin colour of their unborn son Archie, in a 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview.

It became one of the most discussed points on the show, which also accused British tabloids of racist treatment of Meghan, and prompted a rare reaction from the palace.

Harry denied accusing the royal of racism, in an interview aired Sunday on Britain's ITV television to promote his memoir "Spare".

"No I didn't. The British press said that," Harry said, adding that Meghan had also not called the royals "racist".

Harry said that "having lived within that family", he blamed the incident on "unconscious bias".

"My understanding is because of my own experience - the difference between racism and unconscious bias, the two things are different," the prince said.

His comments came after a recent embarrassing incident late last year when a royal attendant asked a black British charity head where she "really came from" at a reception.

The elderly aristocrat resigned and later apologised in person.

Harry's wife Meghan is mixed-race and she told Winfrey that Harry had relayed to her details of several conversations about how dark their baby's skin colour would be.

Winfrey asked if they were concerned the baby would be "too brown" and Meghan replied: "I wasn't able to follow up with why, but that - if that's the assumption you're making, I think that feels like a pretty safe one."

Meghan said that naming the royal responsible would be "very damaging for them".

The Winfrey interview prompted Buckingham Palace to issue a rare statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, saying "the issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning".

"While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately," the statement said. Prince William told reporters at the time that "we are very much not a racist family".


Criticism of Camilla

The prince also criticised Charles's second wife and now Queen Consort.

In the book, he wrote that after Diana's death, Camilla "began playing the long game: a campaign aimed at marriage and eventually the crown".

Details appeared in media of private conversations that "could only have been leaked" by Camilla, Harry alleged.

"I love my father, I love my brother, I love my family. I will always do," Harry stressed in the interview, saying he hoped a reconciliation would "100 percent" happen in the future.

"I don't think my father or brother will read the book. I really hope they do," he added.

The Sunday Times earlier quoted an unnamed friend of the brothers as saying William "won't retaliate" over the book, but "he's anxious and he's sad".

Another unnamed friend told the newspaper that William "is staunchly protective of his own family, and he's not just going to roll over."

The Sunday Telegraph broadsheet quoted sources close to Charles as saying the king saw a reconciliation with Harry as the "only way out of this mess", however.

Harry will not have a formal role in Charles's coronation this year which he is expected to attend, The Sunday Times reported.