Wow! What a book!
Prince Harry – whose prose can in no way be described as “turgid” and “unreadable” – takes us on a journey through the ups and ups and more ups of royal life. To get any closer to the insides of the British royal family, you’d need to be a car windshield in the Pont de l’Alma underpass.
Why it’s called Spare? Well, it references a common saying in the British royal family.
“A hair and a spare.”
You see, the House of Windsor has an old – and odd – tradition. Due to a genetic quirk, the entire family is bald – and I mean disconcertingly, freakishly hairless, like sphinx cats – except for one family member per generation, who grows hair at an accelerated rate. This excess hair is harvested, and used to make wigs, extensions, false eyelashes, and merkins for the rest of the family.
In effect, the male line contains a “hair” (who proudly displays his locks in public), and a “spare” (who grows those locks behind the scenes).
On page 32, Harry describes the day he learned the awful reason for his birth.
“Father escorted me into the geranium-scented quietness of the Balmoral Conservatory. Once we were alone, he bade me come to his knee, his expression grave.
“Harry, it’s time you knew the truth. You are a hair donor.”
Father’s voice did not waver as he explained the history of our family. We possess a mutated CD572, or “anticapillus” gene. This allele is dominant: if you have one copy of it, your body will be hairless. But if you are homozygous (meaning, if both chromosomes have the corrupt CD572), a so-called “anti-overdominance” effect kicks in. With a double dose of the mutation, your follicle glands are hyperstimulated, and instead of being stunted, hair grows at fourfold the normal rate.
I didn’t understand most of this, but I wondered if it was the reason why I required such frequent haircuts. Or why I kept clogging shower drains. Or why I looked like I was smuggling six full-grown shi tzu’s inside my underwear. Or why, in Eton productions of A Winter’s Tale, I kept getting cast as the bear that chases Antigonus off the stage.
And could this be why my brother William’s body – which I’d frequently observed when we bathed together – was muskrat-bald? I had assumed that he was merely a pussy.
I gulped. My life was about to change forever.p32
The odds of homozygosity for a given allele is 1 in 4, so generally, the royal family will usually have one hair donor per generation. If no homozygotic offspring are born, the couple duly continue pumping out children until they have one. And it seems it was Harry’s unlikely fate to become this donor.
Harry spares no detail on the horrifying surgery required.
“But I don’t want to give my hair to William!” I wailed as the steel forceps gleamed, capturing my tearstruck face. “He sucks!”
“Your locks will grow back,” the kindly doctor assured me, as he injected another shot of local anesthetic into my scalp. “Try to relax, Your Highness. This is less painful than it was in the pliers-and-corgi-fat days, trust me.”
The surgeon began the procedure, which involved removing hair follicles from the donor area and placing them, dripping with blood, onto an embroidered royal napkin, ready for grafting onto my brother’s scalp.
“This won’t hurt a bit,” he crooned.
He lied. It hurt a lot.
Through a crystalline storm of unbelievable agony, I heard Grandma’s kindly voice.
“Please leave enough hair for my new merkin,” she told the surgeon. “The breeze over the royal privates is dreadfully chilly, you know.”p56-p57
He discloses further dynamite, such as the fact that the Royal Line is the last, degenerate strain of an ancient capillary-obsessed cult.
On the Isle of Man (where the royal line is believed to have started), folk believe in a mythical being called “Fenodyree” – a sort of hairy elf who helps humans with their chores (“Fenodyree” is a compound of the Gaelic words fynney, or ‘hair’, and oashyree, ‘stockings’).
The Manx brownie is called the fenodyree, and he is described as a hairy and apparently clumsy fellow, who would, for instance, thrash a whole barnful of corn in a single night for the people to whom he felt well disposed; and once on a time he undertook to bring down for the farmer his wethers from Snaefell.Celtic Folklore, John Rhys, 1901
The Fenodyree is also mentioned by Milton under the name “Lubber fiend”.
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.L’Allegro, John Milton, 1631
This odd hairy servant appears to be a mythical refiguring of the CD572 homozygote carrier, who has clearly existed for centuries in the royal line. There’s a clear level of symbolism here. The Fenodyree doesn’t just help with any chore. It serves humans by mowing and cutting things.
The Fenoderee went to the meadow,Manx Ballads & Music, Moore, Arthur William (1896)
To lift the dew at the grey dawn,
The maiden- hair and the cattle- herb,
He was stamping under both his feet.
He was stretching out on the ground* ofthe meadow ;
He threw the grass on the left hand,
He caused us to wonder last year,
And this year he is far better.
He was stretching out on the ground of the meadow,
Cutting the herbs in bloom,
The bog- bean in the rushy curragh,
As he went it was all shaking.
The scythe he had was cutting everything,
Skinning the meadow to the sods,
And, if a wisp were left standing,
He stamped it with his heel.
Again and again, hair-obsession crops up in British history. Chaucer makes ribald references to beards and pubic hair. Lady Godiva rode naked through town, shielded only by her long hair. Henry VIII introduced a “beard tax” in 1535, meaning your tax burden increased in line with the length of your beard, ensuring it would become a status symbol. Indeed, St Edward’s Crown itself is a symbolic, Freudian substitute for a brilliant mane of hair. The nation is gripped by follicular-philia.
It would embarrass the nation if the King was known to be bald. And it was Harry’s fate to ensure that this never happened.
Yikes! You can see why Harry’s relationship with the crown is strained, with that kind of skeleton in their closet! Unfortunately, the House of Windsor has many claimants for hair, and their excessive demands would leave even Harry’s robust follicular system on the verge of deforestation.
We also learn the true reason for Prince Harry’s sudden 2008 recall from active commission in Afghanistan. We were told that his identity had been leaked by an Australian women’s magazine, and the Ministry of Defense feared he would become a target for kidnap or assassination.
What we didn’t know was that his all-important hair was at risk, too. As soon as Taliban uncovered his identity, they saw a chance to eliminate the British royalty at the root (literally), and began deploying illegal anti-follicle chemical weapons.
Rockets screamed over Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand Province. We were taking heavy fire.
As parallel lines of smoke arced toward us, I assumed they were were crude fertilizer bombs. But when they slammed into the cracked dirt, there were no fiery explosions. Instead, I saw little canisters bouncing on the ground, releasing clouds of sulphur-yellow mist.
As the clouds billowed out over nearby soldiers, I saw something that chilled my marrow. Their hair was falling out! Captain Murphy’s black tresses were coming out in twists and clumps. Squadron Leader Hopkin’s handlebar mustache was streaming away from his nose like so much liquified brown snot.
Horrified understanding dawned on me. The Taliban was using hair-dissolving chemicals against us! Against me! In clear breach of the Geneva Convention!
I staggered through the carnage, dodging flying canisters. I had to get out of here. If my hair was collateral-damaged, all was lost. The family was counting on me!
I dashed toward FOB Delhi, weaving around snaking trails of smoke. At the last moment, I tripped and fell, and the wind blew smoke over my left ankle. Fortunately, it was deflected by my battle dress. And though the hair over that area is now thinner, the rest of my body is unscathed.
“Close shave,” a NCO said back at HQ.
“That is not fucking funny!”p580-581
But most disturbingly of all, he discusses macabre rumors which have long swirled about Diana’s death.
We all know what happened in that tragic night. MI6 operates whisked the Princess away, and embalmed her so hastily it nearly caused an international scandal. The rumor at the time was that they wanted to hide evidence of a pregnancy. In fact, this rumor was started by the MI6 itself.
Here’s the truth: they wanted her hair.
Upon her head, painstakingly extracted from mine, were over 100,000 individual follicles of hair, feathered and sprayed and colored straw-blonde. You think the “Princess Di” refers to her birth name? Guess again. It’s actually Princess Dye.
Her body was worthless to the Crown, but her hair was worth its weight in gold, as large numbers of bald family members were demanding my hair, and my body was about to enter septic shock from repeated rounds of surgery.
As far as I know, part of “Diana’s” hair (meaning, mine) was fashioned into the ring Father now wears on his finger, and another section was used to stuff a throw-pillow that is now in the possession of Andrew.
When I discovered this, it was the final straw. I would no longer be a hair donor for these evil, bald bastards.p1412-1413
Damn! Talk about spilling the tea!
Harry’s decision would have far-reaching consequences. His family members were denied fresh hair implants, and soon, the paparazzi were noting that the royal hair was taking on a thin, careworn look. It seemed to be crumbling before our eyes, like old Christmas tinsel. Several members – most notably his brother – went almost entirely bald. Britain, it seems, no longer rules the waves.
The death of the Queen in 2022 was a short-lived reprieve, as they were able to regain her hair and stave off the ravages of time. But the clock is still ticking. So far, no new double-CD572 homozygotes have been born. None of Duchess Sophie’s issue has the double-mutation, and neither do Princess Beatrice’s, Princess Eugenie’s, or Princess Alexandra’s. Windsor has to win Harry back, or they’ll disgrace Britain forever with baldness.
…unless they can somehow gain access to little Archibald Mountbatten-Windsor. Who is ironically named indeed, because the little tyke is rumored to possess a double dose of the mutation.
Megan claimed in her bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview that a “senior member” had asked her questions about her baby’s skin color. But it seems she misunderstood the line of questioning. They were trying assess if Megan has any history of CD572 in her family line.
So you’ll learn more than you’ll ever wanted to know about how the British royal family works in this biography. Get ready to have your understanding about the house of Windsor flip-turned upside down. Let’s not split hairs, Harry’s autobiography is a cut above the rest. No matter where you stand on the royalty and their place in contemporary life, you’ll find this book to be a breath of fresh hair.$i;?>
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