Until now, the Duke of Sussex’s three-year whinge-fest against the royal household had obliquely referred to “the institution”, a faceless monolith constructed to crush his hopes and dreams.
In his memoir, he focuses his anger on three individual courtiers, though his loathing for them is such that he cannot bring himself to utter their names. They are the Bee, the Fly and the Wasp, “middle-aged white men who’d managed to consolidate power through a series of bold Machiavellian manoeuvres”.
These insects, he says, buzzed around the palaces, had a sting in their tail, and in the case of the Fly were “drawn to s—“.
“I disliked these men,” Harry writes, just in case readers had not worked that out for themselves, “and they didn’t have any use for me. They considered me irrelevant at best, stupid at worst.”
You don’t need to be a GCHQ cryptographer to work out the identities of the three servants, not because of Prince Harry’s spiteful descriptions of them, but because of the well-documented role each of them played in the episode he is describing: Megxit .
Their crime, in Harry’s eyes, was to stand in the way of what he wanted and to effectively force him into exile against his will. There are, however, two sides to every story, as Harry himself has been keen to point out as he promotes his memoir, Spare. Their job, as well as protecting the monarchy at all costs, was to save Prince Harry from himself.
If they ignored the Duke’s pleadings, it was because they hoped that his self-described “red mist” would dissipate with time, and that he would see that those with more experience than him – not least his grandmother – might actually know what they were. talkingabout.
Royal insiders are also keen to point out that Harry is directing his fire at the wrong target. While it may be “emotionally a softer landing” to blame the staff, they were merely acting on orders, which came from people he loved. The Bee, who was “so poised that people didn’t fear him”, which was a “big mistake, sometimes their last mistake”, according to Harry, is Sir Edward Young, 56. Back then, he was private secretary to the Queen Elizabeth II (he masterminded her appearance with Daniel Craig at the London 2012 opening ceremony) and he is now private secretary to the King.
Aside from the fait accompli Harry thinks Sir Edward helped arrange over Megxit, his treason, as far as Harry was concerned, was that he failed to take action against the press following what the prince saw as unfair and untrue reports concerning his wife, and then “ambushed” him at a 2019 meeting with the Queen and the then Prince of Wales, where Harry was scolded for suing four newspapers without permission from the Queen or his father.
The Fly is Simon Case, 44, then private secretary to Prince William, now Cabinet Secretary. He had spent his career growing fat on “the offal of government and media, the wormy entrails” in Harry’s words. As a man who worked for Harry’s brother, Case was seen as a natural enemy.