Being a fly and entering the right rooms, at the right time, and being able to witness history. Let’s say it right away: this is the reason for the success of Shoot. Prince Harry’s memoirs – magically written like a novel whose end we want to know, even if we already know the end – give us the great feeling of finally knowing the backstory of the scenes that have so far only been told by the tabloids or the Tv series. You will say: there are the background of only Harry in Shoot. True: in fact, the moments in which she tells the details of the facts are precious – such as Queen Elizabeth keeping time with her foot listening to Brian May but then Harry discovers that she has plugs in her ears (page 110) – more than the deductions and insinuations about the “betrayal” of his family members. Let me explain: in the details there is a lot of truth, e I guess JR Moehringer insisted on extracting them from Harry, like precious nuggets. By following the details you understand many things, you have fun, sometimes you cry.
While if you are looking for an answer to the eternal question: who is the villain of the story? William or Harry? Kate or Meghan? it is difficult to find in Shoot. Both because – although Harry makes clear his suffering and the rigidity and dysfunctionality of the royal family under the weight of the institution – he does not give any proof of the complicity between his relatives and the tabloid press, and because, often, while he exalts the wife quality achieves the opposite result. And, as Tina Brown said: “It was incredibly touching and heartwarming to hear how Harry dealt with the loss of his mother as a child. But when he discusses the last few years, he’s doing some gaslighting himselffrankly, because the thing is… This is like selling your family for money, essentially, after explaining at length the agony of being betrayed.’
So here it is a reading path: between the details, and the key steps to try to decipher the enigma of the family feud.
TO page 71 Of Shoot there is the summary of Harry’s tragedy. Explaining how his father Carlo adores Shakespeare, while he carefully avoids him, he writes: «I opened theHamlet: a lonely prince, obsessed with his deceased parent, watches the surviving one fall in love with the usurper? I closed the book: thanks, it’s not for me». Harry feels like Hamlet, who, we know, eventually goes mad. To be or not to be? This is the question. Harry’s childhood proceeds in denial. When his father informs him that Diana is dead he does not hug him (page 32), does not talk to his brother about his mother’s death, does not cry, finally does not believe that she is really dead. We have to wait page 307 for Carlo to apologize to him, admitting that perhaps he wasn’t a very good father and “it was his fault”, page 319 for Harry to cry the first time (seventeen years after the Alma tunnel incident) e page 179 why you realize that the mother is really dead (at 23 years old).
The king doesn’t come out badly. Beyond the above apologies, Harry recounts many details that illuminate lesser-known aspects of Carlo: for example, that he was not a detached and anaffective father. Harry recalls when the future king would “salad” him and his brother in the blanket like hot dogs, and then shoot them away (page 241), or when she stroked his forehead and cheeks before falling asleep, because she was afraid of the dark (page 48), or when she left love letters in his room and he put them under his pillow (page 49). He is clumsy when he goes to see Harry play at school and “laughs at the wrong moments”, embarrassing him, as his father Philip had done to him (page 117). Unthinkable when Harry sees him enraptured by the music at the Spice Girls concert (page 50), humming: «If you want my future, forget my past…», or when Harry reveals that his father has a stuffed Teddy Bear that «went everywhere with him» (page 60).
The episode of the frozen penis at the North Pole (page 254) is the passage in which Moehringer’s skill is most noticeable: embarrassing topic, embarrassing vocabulary, very high risks. Instead, it all feels natural and extremely fun. After telling us when he lost his virginity and how (page 99), Harry has informed us that he is circumcised (page 247). When it comes to taking a trip to Antarctica (page 309) therefore, he is not caught unprepared, he knows what the reader is thinking: and puts his hands forward (and the right padding in his «south pole»): «They warned me that it was even colder at the South Pole than in the Arctic. I laughed. How was that possible? My penis was already frozen, guys: wasn’t that the worst case scenario?’
Harry, first prey to the repressed mourning of his mother, then to post traumatic stress after being a soldier in Afghanistan and having killed (page 284), uses substances, even if he does not become an addict – to the amazement of his psychotherapist (page 410). When young it comes to grass (page 65), then admits to having snorted cocaine (page 108) and made use of hallucinogenic mushrooms (the best hallucination is the one in the bathroom of the actress Courteney Cox: yes in the bathroom, at page 346). Later she will say that she tried ayahuasca (page 338) as a form of therapy, along with meditation, to first calm the agoraphobia (page 301) which forces him into the house «goblin mode» – when Meghan enters that den for the first time she almost faints (page 378), and then panic attacks (page 336).
While the whole “military” part, which occupies a large part of the second part, can be skipped, land softly at page 333, where, in great detail, Harry talks about his single daily life, before meeting Meghan. We find out that he does his laundry and dries things on the radiator, never ironing, the reason for his scruffy look. Cleans, cooks (although a page 377 she asks: «what is parchment paper?») and goes shopping. The scene “Harry one of us” and also “Nobody can put Baby in a corner” at the supermarket are memorable, where the prince intervenes to put down the classic quarrel between the old man with the trolley and the cashier (page 334): “Excuse me. I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t feel like treating her like this.” We also discover that Harry goes to the sales, because Carlo’s tailor only makes him formal clothes, without ever going to the dressing rooms, grabbing stuff from the basket to be able to say: «for another six months I shouldn’t have had to think about clothes» (page 335).
After revealing that the first time he sees Meghan is under an Instagram canine filter (page 353) and that his thumbs got crapi from having chatted 24 hours uninterruptedly with her he had just met – and also putting a regatta in the middle – (page 355), Harry admits he had to google it (page 356) to figure out who it was, while William and Kate were fans of Suits, the series in which Meghan starred. As far as page 386 everything is fine: everyone likes Meghan, even William who confides in him: “I’m happy for you Harold” (more formal name than Harry, who however would be called Henry Charles Albert David of Wales, another mystery in the book). The love story with Meghan takes off like a rocket, Harry nonchalantly reports details that can be read in the opposite way. On the second date, just after the first kiss, she immediately plans: «He looked at the diary. I looked at mine” (page 364). Another scene: she goes to the supermarket, is hunted down by the paparazzi on the way back, runs to her house: he says he found her upset and in tears (page 397), but then he sniffs the air and discovers that «the roast is in the oven», he had cooked anyway. Again: he kneels to make her proposal, full of doubts and undecided about her answer, which instead jumps on her neck. He asks her: “But don’t you want to see the ring?” (page 427). And finally: a page 464 the famous episode is told in which Meghan, attacked by the tabloids, tells Harry that she wants to die, crying. Since they have to go to an official event, he proposes that they go alone and come right back. She refuses: she will go to the theater with him, she puts on make-up, gets dressed, they go out.
The break with the Cambridges takes place starting from the marriage proposal (agreed by the queen, which Harry would like to embrace, but which he does not embrace, page 423), with a series of quite ridiculous episodes. TO page 430 find the episode of the lipgloss, evidently reported to him by Meghan, according to which Kate, after having lent the lipgloss to her future sister-in-law, after seeing her put it on her hand and then with a finger passing it over her lips, she would have grimaced in disgust. Then there is the “barbagate” a page 436, in which William gets angry because the Queen has allowed Harry to marry with a beard. TO page 442 the quarrel with Kate arrives before the wedding, when Meghan bursts into tears because Kate asks for a change to the pageboys’ clothes. Even if the next day she gives her flowers and an apology note. TO page 449 the “clarification” arrives: in which the two couples face small disagreements, such as having changed the placeholders at the wedding and the misunderstanding on the “babybrain”.
Harry explains that he doesn’t resent the monarchy and the institution, which he doesn’t question. He explains that he is angry first of all with the tabloid press, in which he sees the same fury that there was with Diana. But he also attacks his family, Carlo, Camilla, William and Kate, whom he considers accomplices of the tabloids: if he too has no certain proof, their silence is already a fault. Leaving aside the fact that for Elisabetta the rule is «never complain, never explain». William tries to tell her page 519 that “it was their grandmother” who decided to oust them completely during “the Sandringham summit (in fact, Elizabeth will no longer receive them and is inflexible on the point – page 498). Not only that: William yells at him that he loves him and only wants his happiness but Harry leaves, not believing his brother’s words.
As William Faulkner’s dedication says «The past never dies. It hasn’t even passed.” Diana pervades nearly every page of the book. But if you want to cry, go to page 411: Harry, thanks to therapy, has started to regain his memory. Memories of her mother, which had gone into a black hole at 13 when she died, resurface. Get your handkerchiefs ready.
Source: Vanity Fair
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