King Charles would be ‘furious’ over Harry’s ‘deeply insulting’ nicknames for private secretaries

King Charles would be “furious” over “derogatory” nicknames for private secretaries used in Prince Harry’s memoir Spare, a royal biographer has claimed.

In the book, the Duke of Sussex refers to three “courtiers” nicknamed The Bee, The Fly and The Wasp who would be “easily identifiable” by royal insiders as private secretaries of the senior royals at the time.

Harry writes in the book: “I’d spent my life dealing with courtiers, scores of them. But now I dealt mostly with just three, all middle-aged white men who’d managed to consolidate power through a series of bold Machiavellian manoeuvres.

“They had normal names... but they sort more easily into zoological categories. The Bee, The Fly and the Wasp. The Bee was oval-faced and fuzzy and tended to glide around with great equanimity and poise, as if he was a boon to all living things.”

The Fly, however, had “spent much of his career adjacent to and, indeed drawn to, s***. The offal of government and media and wormy entrails, he loved it, grew fat on it, rubbed his hands in glee over it.”

Royal expert and biographer Robert Jobson told The Independent that although Prince Harry may have used the nicknames for legal reasons to protect the identity of the secretaries from the average reader, anyone with a “semblance” of knowledge about the workings of the royal household, would know who the “deeply insulting” comments are about.

“The connotation using the bee, wasp and the fly suggests these people are kind of pest-like, flying around the room, literally trying to say they’re derogatory in that respect. Anyone who knows would realise straight away who they are,” Mr Jobson said.

He added: “They’re public servants they can’t answer back, it’s unfair to them. They’re not in the position to, they’re serving the Crown. This is what they have to do, that’s the role they have to play so to criticise them in really derogatory terms and say they need to be swatted like flies is deeply insulting.

“I’m sure the king is furious but as a father it’s very difficult because it’s his son. He’d be worried about things said in the public domain but despite all that’s been said, that’s his son - it’s very sad.”

Copies of the new book by Prince Harry called “Spare” are displayed at a book store in London ((AP Photo/Kin Cheung))
Copies of the new book by Prince Harry called “Spare” are displayed at a book store in London ((AP Photo/Kin Cheung))

Mr Jobson added that while the memoir is unlikely to be damaging to the Crown because of Harry’s distance in succession to the throne, it is “embarrassing” and there will be some short-term impact.

In Harry’s ITV interview with Tom Bradby, the duke said he hoped to reconcile with his father and brother, explaining that he “wants a family and not an institution” but so far the pair have shown “no willingness to reconcile.”

On Harry’s desire to reconcile with the King and Prince of Wales, Mr Jobson said the “trust had been broken” because of his public revelations and the royal family.

“If he wanted to reconcile in any way, shape or form, that should have been done in private. While he was writing this book, doing interviews with Oprah and Netflix documentaries, the element of trust is probably broken with his father and brother.

Harry said he wants to reconcile with his father and brother (Getty Images)
Harry said he wants to reconcile with his father and brother (Getty Images)

“They may tell all in his book. You can’t blame them for not wanting to speak. Any conversation could come out in a paperback follow-up of his book so how could they trust him?”

In Prince Harry’s latest media appearance following the release of his book, the duke challenged the “very dangerous” spin about the claim in his book that he killed 25 Taliban soldiers.

The 38-year-old told Stephen Colbert it had been “hurtful and challenging” watching the reactions following the book’s publication.

“Without a doubt, the most dangerous lie that they have told is that I somehow boasted about the number of people that I killed in Afghanistan,” Harry said on The Late Show.