There were Spare revelations that the series ignored too. The memoir debuted midway through filming the final season, so production was well underway when Harry’s bombshells dropped. Sulzberger recalls that the team was filming scenes set at Princess Diana’s funeral inside Westminster Abbey when they got ahold of the book, and one such detail—specifically, that Harry did not cry at his mother’s funeral—went ignored. (In the book, Harry claims he only cried about his mother’s death once, at her burial.)
“We were already filming, and the director was like, our young actor [Fflyn Edwards] is weeping—so sad,” she recalls, noting that the series includes a shot of a young Harry crying. “You just have to say, ‘Okay, that’s a directorial decision.’”
Sulzberger notes that memoirs can be tricky when it comes to fact-checking, so she was not particularly precious about hewing to Spare.
“Whether or not Harry is remembering that moment exactly as it was, or he’s an older man remembering that he had to bottle things up,” she says, “it’s hard to use those details exactly as he explored them.” As a researcher, Sulzberger says she takes autobiographies and memoirs with a grain of salt: “They provide you with their personal perspective and intimate detail, but you have to also understand that it is a single-perspective work.” With Spare, Sulzberger points out “that it was written by a 38-year-old man [partially] about his years as a child. So those memories—especially of the bits we were interested in—may not be as pure as they would’ve been if he had been asked to write down in the moment a diary entry of what happened that day.”
One memoir element that is echoed in The Crown’s final season is the double standard with which Buckingham Palace operated in terms of protecting the Wales siblings from the press. In the final episodes, William begins university at St. Andrews after the palace has struck up a press deal to help give the future heir privacy in his days as a student. Meanwhile, Harry’s use of marijuana as a teenager becomes front-page news. In Spare, the actual prince remembered the moment he discovered the palace was okay with this media narrative after a front-page headline screamed “Harry’s Drugs Shame” in 2002 when he was about 18.