Ask me about any space I’ve occupied – castle, cockpit, classroom, stateroom, bedroom, palace, garden, pub – and I’ll recreate it down to the carpet tacks. Is it genetics? Trauma? Whatever the cause, my memory is my memory, it does what it does, gathers and curates as it seems fit. 

August 30, 1997. They tried, darling boy. I’m afraid she didn’t make it.

England was in the Semi-Final of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. No one had predicted that. It was being held in Paris – a city I’d never visited. The tunnel is called Pont de l’Alma, I told him. I want to go through it. Off we went, weaving through traffic, cruising past the Ritz, where Mummy had her last meal, with her boyfriend, that August night. It was a short, simple, no-frills tunnel. Again. We went through again. 

Other than the occasional shopping, I stopped going out in 2015. No more occasional dinners with mates. No more house parties. No clubs. No nothing. Every night I’d straight go home from work, eat over the sink, then catch up on paperwork, Friends on low in the background. I missed the Gurkhas, missed the Army. I missed the war. After dinner I’d smoke a joint, trying to make sure the smoke didn’t waft into the garden of my neighbour, the Duke of Kent. Solitary life. Strange life. 

He said I was welcome at Balmoral, but he didn’t want… her. He started to lay out his reason, which was nonsensical, and disrespectful, and I wasn’t having it. Don’t ever speak about my wife that way. Granny was gone. Pa was King. 

Prince Harry, Spare, (Penguin Random House, 2023).