In memoir, Prince Harry said to claim infamous Nazi costume was William’s idea

Report says that Harry being widely chastised while his brother suffered no consequences marked a turning point in the young royal’s relationship with his family

Britain's Prince William, left, and Prince Harry walk beside each other after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, September 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
Britain's Prince William, left, and Prince Harry walk beside each other after viewing the floral tributes for the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, September 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

Prince Harry writes in a new memoir that his brother William and Kate Middleton were behind his infamous decision to dress up as a Nazi when he was 20, the Page Six tabloid reported Thursday.

The revelation is one of many from the ghostwritten memoir, titled “Spare,” which includes revelations about the estranged royal’s drug-taking, first sexual encounter and role in killing people during his military service in Afghanistan. The book is set to be published on Tuesday.

According to Page Six, William and Kate “howled” with laughter when they saw him dressed up for the 2005 party.

In one segment of the book, obtained by Page Six, Harry wrote about choosing the outfit, revealing that he deliberated between two costumes: a pilot or a Nazi.

“I phoned Willy and Kate, asked what they thought. Nazi uniform, they said,” Harry wrote, adding that when he went home and tried it on for them, “They both howled. Worse than Willy’s leotard outfit! Way more ridiculous! Which, again, was the point.”

Page Six, citing Royal historian Robert Lacey, said that the incident marked a turning point for Harry’s relationship with William and the Royal family.

“The young prince began reevaluating his elder brother’s involvement and the unfairness of William’s subsequent emergence smelling of roses,” Lacey said.

Harry referred to the Nazi costume incident in November in the Netflix series “Harry & Meghan,” saying that dressing up as a Nazi at age 20 in 2005 was “probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life.”

“I felt so ashamed afterwards. All I wanted to do was make it right,” he said.

Harry wore the outfit to a friend’s costume-themed birthday party. He was photographed in the Nazi attire, which included an armband emblazoned with a swastika, while holding a drink and a cigarette.

The British newspaper The Sun published the image on its front page shortly after the party under the headline “Harry the Nazi.”

Harry was harshly criticized for the costume.

A spokesperson said at the time that Harry “has apologized for any offense or embarrassment he has caused. He realizes it was a poor choice of costume.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said at the time that the costume was in “bad taste,” but was “pleased” with the apology.

Harry addressed the incident in the third episode of the new series, while discussing bias in the royal family.

“I sat down and spoke to the chief rabbi in London, which had a profound impact on me. I went to Berlin and spoke to a Holocaust survivor,” the British royal said. “I could have got on and ignored it and made the same mistakes over and over in my life, but I learned from that.”

The series chronicles the couple’s estrangement from the royal family and chastises Britain’s media and societal landscape.

Harry’s decision to blame William for his Nazi costume was widely derided on the internet, with one commentator noting the irony of his “just following orders” defense.

Further revelations are to be revealed in the memoir, in which Harry says his brother William physically attacked him during a ferocious argument.

A promotional poster of the new book “Spare” is displayed in a bookstore in London, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023. Prince Harry alleges in a much-anticipated new memoir that his brother Prince William lashed out and physically attacked him during a furious argument over the brothers’ deteriorating relationship (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Harry recounts a 2019 argument at his Kensington Palace home, in which he says William called Harry’s wife, the former actor Meghan Markle, “difficult,” “rude” and “abrasive.” Harry said William grabbed his brother by the collar and ripped his necklace before knocking him down.

“I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me,” Harry says in the passage, first reported by The Guardian.

Harry says he had scrapes and bruises as a result of the tussle, for which William later apologized.

The allegation is one of a slew in a book that exposes painful, intimate — and in some cases contested — details about the lives of Harry and other members of the royal family. The memoir is the latest in a string of public revelations and accusations by Harry and Meghan that have shaken Britain’s royal family.

It includes Harry’s assertion that he killed 25 people while serving as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner in 2012 as part of Britain’s military campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. He said he felt neither pride nor shame about his actions, and in the heat of battle regarded enemy combatants as pieces being removed from a chessboard.

Harry spent a decade in the British Army — years he has described as his happiest because they allowed him a measure of normality — before taking up full-time royal duties in 2015.

The book recounts Harry’s decades of disenchantment with his privileged, scrutinized and constrained royal life. In it he alludes to the book’s title, recounting the alleged words of his father, then Prince Charles, to his mother, Princess Diana, on the day of his birth: “Wonderful! Now you’ve given me an heir and a spare — my work is done.”

While William was destined from birth to be king, Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne behind his brother and William’s three children, has often appeared to struggle with the more ambiguous role of “spare.”

Attending a ceremonial event, from front left, Prince William, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex, with various other dignitaries and guests, before watching a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Paul Grover/Pool via AP)

In the book, Harry describes his rebellious teenage years. He recounts how he lost his virginity — to an older woman in a field behind a pub — and describes how he took cocaine when he was 17.

Neither Buckingham Palace, which represents King Charles III, nor William’s Kensington Palace office has commented on the allegations.

Harry, 38, and Meghan married at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Less than two years later, the couple quit royal duties and moved to California, citing what they saw as the media’s racist treatment of Meghan, who is biracial, and a lack of support from the palace.

Since then they have presented their side of the story in an interview with Oprah Winfrey and in their six-part Netflix documentary, released last month, which recounted the couple’s bruising relationship with the UK media and estrangement from the royal family.

In the series, Harry said William screamed at him during a family meeting and accused palace officials of lying to protect his elder brother, who is now heir to the throne. Meghan, 41, talked about wanting to end her life as she struggled to cope with toxic press coverage.

Harry has recorded interviews with several broadcasters in Britain and the United States to promote the book.

In snippets released in advance, Harry told Britain’s ITV that the royal household had cast him and Meghan as “villains” and “shown absolutely no willingness to reconcile.” In an interview with CBS, he said the palace’s refusal to defend him and Meghan from attacks was a “betrayal.”

Palace officials have declined to comment on any of Meghan and Harry’s allegations.

Since Harry and Meghan split from the royal family in 2020, the couple has launched a new life as US-based charity campaigners and media personalities.

Harry has spoken about his desire for a reconciliation with his brother and father, who became King Charles III when Queen Elizabeth II died in September, aged 96. The book’s scorching revelations are likely to make that more difficult.

Asked by ITV’s Tom Bradby whether he will play a part in the British monarchy’s future, Harry said: “I don’t know.”

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