‘Medieval institution’: Commonwealth Guardian readers on Prince Harry’s Spare

Comments range from ‘the monarchy is valuable’ to ‘Harry and Meghan are having their cake and eating it’

Last week, the tell-all autobiography by Prince Harry, Spare, was released and sold a combined 1,430,000 copies on its first day on sale in the US, Canada and the UK.

Here, readers from Commonwealth countries share their thoughts on Prince Harry, his new book and whether the controversies surrounding the royal family have changed their views towards the monarchy.

‘Monarchies worldwide have become relics’

The ties between the monarchy and New Zealand have steadily dissolved over the decades to the extent that it has become an irrelevancy to a modern New Zealand. Prince Harry’s revelations have simply reinforced my view that the monarchy is a somewhat dysfunctional medieval institution and I have every sympathy for Harry’s views.

Monarchies worldwide have become historical relics, so I would thank the royals for their service, give the king and his wife a nice home to live in, cancel all government subsidies and sell off the royal estate for affordable housing. John Henderson, 76, New Zealand

‘The royal family has no place in modern Australian society’

Harry Windsor’s autobiography has not changed my opinion of the British royal family. I felt that they had no place in modern Australian society prior to its publication and continue to feel the same way. The enduring representation of imperial power is an insult to First Nations Australians.

It should come as no surprise that a tell-all autobiography contains dirt on other members of the family, who are after all prone to the same human emotions as the rest of us. We can only hope that this biography brings about a change in public sentiment towards this institution and eventually leads to Australia becoming a republic. Lester Mascarenhas, 42, doctor, Melbourne, Australia

‘I still think the monarchy is valuable’

I support the monarchy as a political institution, not for the personal characteristics of any member or even for the monarch. I think it is valuable to have a head of state whose appointment is beyond political manipulation. The celebrity magazine nonsense surrounding Harry and Meghan is irrelevant. A monarchy allows one to be loyal to the nation represented by the monarch without loyalty to the head of government. The American system, which somewhat combines the two roles, is problematic in this regard. Joseph Holland, retired, Canada

‘It is sad to feel we’ve been misled’

The autobiography definitely has [changed my opinion]. I have to say that I am a supporter of Harry and Meghan and I am glad that they have spoken up and exposed truths. We live in a world now where transparency is valued. It is sad to feel we’ve been misled and intentionally puppeteered by the British press and the monarchy, and that royal lives and their wellbeing, who are still in the end just people, are not valued and shown humanity.

While this all doesn’t make me necessarily someone who wants the monarchy torn down, it does make me lose respect and trust, and I don’t think I would ever fully be a supporter of the monarchy unless some kind of acknowledgment is made and responsibility taken. Melissa Ralph, 31, working in the non-profit sector, South Africa

‘Harry and Meghan are having their cake and eating it’

The Queen has been a figurehead since I was a child and I feel deep respect for the monarchy. I think Harry and Meghan come across as having their cake and eating it. The average person could not begin to imagine such a privileged lifestyle, so it’s hard to see Harry acting like an average guy and gut-spilling to millions of strangers, while demanding privacy. The disclosure of really personal things, the accusations and the mudslinging are uncalled for. I won’t buy or read his book to support his cause against his own family. Sue, artist, Australia

‘The Commonwealth needs a reset’

Harry certainly paints a picture of a cold, dysfunctional family that must have made for a dull, if not miserable, childhood. All of this exposure could have been avoided if they had just let him work part-time. The stripping of his responsibilities and the complete refusal to stand by Meghan and manage her image the same way they manage theirs speaks to institutional racism. I still remember all the briefings against Diana, so this is just cruel and shameful.

As an institution, the monarchy really serves little use for the Commonwealth. As a family, it obviously does not work – but is certainly a great system for preserving generational wealth and privilege. The Commonwealth is a relic, and we need a reset, a more practical economic relationship, even without benefit of EU access. Anonymous, 56, entrepreneur, Nigeria


Guardian readers

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