Prince Harry’s memoirSpare was published on Tuesday (10 January) to much fanfare.
In it, the Duke of Sussex describes intimate details of his personal life and the inner workings of the royal family. He also uses a number of cryptic codenames and affectionate nicknames to describe everybody from bodyguards to members of the paparazzi.
Those who have watched Netflix’s The Crown will be no stranger to the royal family’s tendency to use nicknames to refer to each other. In the series, Prince Charles called often referred to Camilla as “Gladys”.
Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle, the Duke of Windsor allegedly called the late monarch “Shirley Temple” in letters to his wife Wallis Simpson, referencing his niece’s “dumpy” frame and curly hair as being similar to the child star.
Prince Harry’s newly released autobiography continues this habit of secretive monikers for people in the inner circles in the royal family, not all of them complementary.
Read on to find out all of the codenames and nicknames used in Prince Harry’s new memoir Spare.
“Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber”
In recalling near-physical incidents with paparazzi, Harry names two of his most recognisable pursuers “Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber”. It’s unconfirmed which members of the “paps” the duke is referring to, but in one moment the duke recalls an incident where one of them caused a security scare.
“One night, leaving a club, I saw two men come racing around a corner. They were headed straight towards me and one had a hand on his hip,” he writes. “Someone yelled, ‘Gun!’ I thought: Well, everyone, we had a good run. Billy the Rock leapt forward, hand on his gun, and nearly shot the two men. But it was just Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber… Billy held him and screamed into his face: ‘How many times do we have to tell you? You’re going to get somene f***ing killed.’ They didn’t care. They did not care.”
Elsewhere in the book, however, Harry could not bear to mention the name of Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News UK, instead referring to her anagrammatically as Rehabber Kooks.
“The Bee, the Wasp and the Fly”
This trio, in Harry’s telling, are a representation of the hierarchy of royal advisors who he claims undermined him at the now-infamous Sandringham summit in 2020. Though Prince Harry never shares the real identities of who he is referring to in the book, The Times reported that “the Bee” is a codename for Queen Elizabeth II’s private secretary Sir Edward Young. The publication also reports that Clive Alderton, Charles’s private secretary, is “the Wasp” and William’s private secretary, Simon Case, is “the Fly”.
“Billy the Rock”
Prince Harry frequently mentions “Billy the Rock”, who was his private bodyguard for many years. In the memoir, he recalls trying to pick a fight with Billy when he was upset, but the bodyguard “barely reacted”. Billy’s real name is left unconfirmed in the book.
Readers were surprised to find out that despite the rifts and arguments alleged by Prince Harry against Prince William, he still refers to his brother using the childhood nickname “Willy”.
When recalling the time he was gifted a biro pen by his great-aunt, Princess Margaret, Prince Harry refers to her as “Aunt Margo”. She is the sister of Queen Elizabeth II who died in 2002.
Prince Harry only refers to his father, King Charles III as “Pa” throughout Spare.
The duke grew up using the nickname “Granny” for his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II who died in 2022.
Alexandra “Tiggy” Pettifer was hired by Charles as a nanny and companion to Prince William and Prince Harry. She was a personal assistant to Charles III from 1993 to 1999.
In the memoir, “Marko”, is the person appointed by the Royal household to uncover the “truth” of Prince Harry’s drug-taking at Eton. Mark Dyer was the royal aide appointed by the Prince of Wales, now King Charles, to keep an eye on Prince Harry when he was growing up.
In Spare, Harry refers to his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. He describes “Gan-Gan” getting weaker before her death in 2002, just one month after the death of Princess Margaret. The nickname is now used by William’s children, Charlotte, George and Louis, to refer to their great-grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II who died last year.
In passages where he expresses his childhood dislike of Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Harry refers to her as the “Other Woman”. He uses this nickname when discussing his father’s long-term affair with the now-Queen Consort while he was married to Princess Diana. Elsewhere in the memoir, Harry refers to Camilla by her first name and writes that he was happy for her and his father.
The highly anticipated memoir was officially released in bookstores on Tuesday (10 January). Read The Independent’s review here.