Memoirs written to combat ‘spin and distortion’
Prince Harry said 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 today, 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, an account of how he lost his virginity, an admission of drug use and a claim that he killed 25 people while serving in Afghanistan.
British media reported on Sunday that the book had deeply hurt William and the boys' father, King Charles III, but that the monarch wanted to reconcile with his son. The palace has not issued any official reaction.
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."
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." The book focuses on his combative relationship with William, saying his elder brother physically attacked him as they argued over Meghan.