Prince Harry Reveals He Wasn't Actually Prince William's Best Man

Plus, he shares who really held the important job.

Kate Middleton and Prince William on their 2011 wedding day

Max Mumby/Indigo / Getty Images

Prince Harry’s new memoir, Spare—which was published on January 10, 2023—is filled with many shocking revelations about the British royal family and their complicated lives and relationships. From Meghan Markle’s wedding tiara debacle to the bridesmaid dress disagreement between Kate Middleton and her sister-in-law, the book also shares the royal wedding drama that went on behind the scenes. In one chapter of the memoir, Harry writes about Prince William and Kate’s 2011 nuptials and reveals one surprising detail that the public never knew about. According to Spare, Harry wasn’t actually his brother’s best man. Instead, James Meade and Thomas van Straubenzee—two of William’s friends—were the best men. 

In his novel, Harry explains why the royal family went with that decision. “The public had been told that I was to be best man, but that was a bare-faced lie,” he writes. “The public expected me to be the best man, and thus, the palace saw no choice but to say that I was. In truth, Willy didn’t want me giving a best man speech. He didn’t think it safe to hand me a live mic and put me in a position to go off script. I might say something wildly inappropriate. He wasn’t wrong.”

Another reason why the palace decided to say Will was the best man? To protect the real best men’s privacy. “Also, the lie gave cover to James and Thomas, two civilians, two innocents,” Harry explains in his book. “Had they been outed as Willy’s best men, the rabid press wouldn’t chased them, tracked them, hacked them, investigated them, ruined their families’ lives. Both chaps were shy, quiet, They couldn’t handle such an onslaught and shouldn’t be expected to.” For Harry, there were no hard feelings about the decision, though. “Willy explained all this to me, and I didn’t blink,” Harry continues in the chapter. “I understood. We even had a laugh about it, speculating the inappropriate things I might’ve said in my speech.”

Although Harry wasn’t the best man, the Duke of Sussex still ended up sharing a few words at his brother’s reception, which he mostly improvised. While delivering his speech to introduce the best men, Harry did pull out a thong for Kate, which a United States resident made specially for the bride. For the most part, however, the speech was heartfelt and touching. Harry took a look back at their childhood, told stories about their time growing up together, and mentioned how their mother, Princess Diana, would be proud to witness his relationship with Kate.

In Spare, Harry also notes that Will didn’t want to wear the red uniform of the Irish Guards that he donned for his big day. Instead, he preferring sporting his Household cavalry uniform, but Queen Elizabeth II rejected the request. “I assured [William] that he looked bloody smart in the Harp of Ireland with the Crown Imperial and the forage cap with the regimental motto: Quis Separabit? Who shall separate us?” Harry mentions in the book. “It didn’t seem to make an impression.” Harry also wasn’t too keen on his outfit for Will and Kate’s big day. “I, on the other hand, did not look smart, nor did I feel comfortable in my Blues and Royals uniform, which protocol dictated that I wear,” he adds. “I’d never worn it before and hoped not to wear it again anytime soon."

According to his book, Harry shares the thoughts that went through his mind while watching Kate and Will’s ceremony. “I recall Kate walking down the aisle, looking incredible, and I recall Willy walking her back up the aisle, and as they disappeared through the door, into the carriage that would convey them to Buckingham Palace, into the eternal partnership they’d pledged, I recall thinking: Goodbye,” he says in his memoir.

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