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Prince Harry gets personal in Spare. Perhaps too personal for some. He recalls fighting with Prince William and recreating Princess Diana’s fateful journey to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Among anecdotes about his life is the Duke of Sussex’s recollection of the day his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, died. The 38-year-old revisits their last conversation, traveling to Balmoral Castle, and seeing the late monarch’s body. 

King Charles called Prince Harry when Queen Elizabeth’s health declined before later inviting him to Balmoral Castle

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry, who shared details of his last conversation with Queen Elizabeth II before her death in 'Spare', look at each other and smile.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry | Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth died on Sept. 8 at the age of 96. A series of events unfolded before Buckingham Palace announced her death at 3:10 p.m. local time, or 10:10 a.m. EST. 

Two days earlier, the queen met with new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at her beloved estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Then came a statement from Buckingham Palace saying the queen’s doctors had “concerns” about her health on the morning of Sept. 8. The queen, at the time, was resting and “comfortable.” 

So where was Harry in the midst of all this? He wrote in Spare his father, King Charles III, called him to say the queen’s health “had taken a turn” (via CNN). Harry recalled texting his brother, Prince William, asking if he and Kate Middleton were flying to Balmoral. And, if so, how and when. 

Harry claimed the now-Prince of Wales never replied. Then came another call from King Charles, who invited Harry to Balmoral, telling him that his wife, Meghan Markle, wasn’t welcome. 

Prince Harry recalled having a ‘long chat’ with Queen Elizabeth 4 days before her death

Queen Elizabeth II, who Prince Harry said he had a 'long chat' with four days before she died on Sept. 8, 2022, talks with Prince Harry in 2015
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry | Julian Simmonds – WPA Pool / Getty Images

While members of the royal family made their way to Scotland to be with the queen, so did Harry. He wrote in Spare he spent much of his flight to Balmoral looking at clouds and going over the last conversation he’d had with Queen Elizabeth. 

“Four days earlier, long chat on the phone,” Harry wrote, noting he and his grandmother had “touched on many topics. Her health, of course. The turmoil at Number 10.” 

Harry also shared he’d learned Queen Elizabeth had died as the plane made its descent. He remembered getting a text from Meghan telling him to call her. Then he checked the BBC’s website and saw the news. “Granny was gone. Pa was King,” he wrote.

Prince Harry remembered how he ‘stared and stared’ when he saw Queen Elizabeth’s body at Balmoral Castle in ‘Spare’

In addition to sharing details on his last conversation with Queen Elizabeth, Harry discussed the moment he saw the monarch’s body at Balmoral.

“I braced myself, went in. The room was dimly lit, unfamiliar – I’d been inside it only once in my life,” he said. “I moved ahead uncertainly, and there she was.” 

Harry continued: “I stood, frozen, staring. I stared and stared. It was difficult, but I kept on, thinking how I’d regretted not seeing my mother at the end. Years of lamenting that lack of proof, postponing my grief for want of proof. Now I thought: Proof. Careful what you wish for.”

Finally, Harry whispered to Queen Elizabeth he hoped she was happy to be reunited with his grandfather, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021. 

Spare hit shelves, in full, on Jan. 10.