Prince Harry's subtle swipe at Princess Anne's 'hardest working royal title' revealed in new book

The new autobiography from the Duke of Sussex, Spare, contains Prince Harry's subtle swipe at Princess Anne and her hard-earned title

Prince Harry's subtle swipe at Princess Anne
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Harry's subtle swipe at Princess Anne has been revealed in his newly released book, Spare, as the Prince opens up about the competitive mentality within the Royal Family when it comes to appearing at royal engagements.


Princess Anne has defended her hardest-working royal title for many years, and come every December, the Princess Royal is nearly always the member of the family to pip others to the post by attending the most royal engagements in the past year.

In 2022, the Princess attended 214 royal engagements, beating her brother King Charles who attended 181 engagements.

The Court Circular showed that this was a recurring theme as in 2021, Princess Anne was once again dubbed the hardest-working royal and attended the most engagements (despite pandemic restrictions) with a total number of working days of 170 and 179 engagements. Her brother, King Charles, attended the second-highest number of engagements with 160 attended over 153 working days.

While this may seem impressive, Prince Harry had a rather negative view about the engagements logged by the royals, as he made a thinly veiled dig at Princess Anne and his father, King Charles.

Princess Anne

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In Spare, Prince Harry wrote, "The Court Circular was an ancient document, but it had lately morphed into a circular firing squad. It didn’t create the feelings of competitiveness that ran in my family, but it amplified them, weaponized them."

"Though none of us ever spoke about the Court Circular directly, or mentioned it by name, that only created more tension under the surface, which built invisibly as the last day of the calendar year approached," he said.

The Prince then directly spoke about particular individuals becoming 'obsessed' with trying to log the highest number of engagements. Considering Princess Anne is constantly topping the list, it is clear that he is suggesting the Princess Royal was involved in this competitiveness.

"Certain family members had become obsessed, feverishly striving to have the highest number of official engagements recorded in the Circular each year," said Harry. "No matter what." 

Prince Harry and Princess Anne, Princess Royal during the dedication service of The Iraq and Afghanistan memorial at Horse Guards Parade on March 9, 2017 in London, England.

(Image credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

The Prince then suggested that perhaps the engagements logged by other members of the family weren't valid, and were the sort of thing that Prince William and Harry would not have included. 

"They'd succeeded largely by including things that weren't, strictly speaking, engagements, recording public interactions that were mere blips, the kinds of things Willy and I wouldn't dream of including," he said.

Prince Harry wants "family, not an institution"

(Image credit: Kirsty O'Connor - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Prince concluded this commentary on the Court Circular by suggesting that it was a 'joke' and a 'scam', particularly because King Charles was the 'sole decider' when it comes to deciding how many engagements Harry and William attended. 

"To be publicly flogged for how much Pa permitted us to do—that felt grossly unfair. Rigged," said Harry.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.