Prince Harry
Britain's Prince Harry attends the Adam Tower project introduction and global partnership between, SkyScanner, CTrip, TripAdvisor and Visa in Amsterdam on September 3, 2019 an initiative led by the Duke of Sussex to change the travel industry to better protect tourist destinations and communities that depend on it. KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP via Getty Images


  • Prince Harry slammed accusations that he boasted about killing 25 people in Afghanistan in his book "Spare"
  • The Duke of Sussex said his words in the memoir were taken out of context
  • Harry said he mentioned it in the book to encourage other veterans to "share their experiences without any shame"

Prince Harry set the record straight after reports claimed he "boasted" in his memoir about the number of people he killed while serving with the British army in Afghanistan ahead of the release of "Spare."

The Duke of Sussex has been criticized over the past few days for discussing killings in "Spare" as leaks from the book emerged before its Tuesday release.

But during his appearance on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Tuesday, Prince Harry accused the press of taking his words out of context and said the spin that he bragged about killing 25 Taliban fighters while on duty in Afghanistan endangered his family.

"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," Prince Harry told host Stephen Colbert.

Colbert agreed, saying he's read that particular passage. He called the excerpt a "thoughtful description" of being a soldier and said that in his opinion, "there's nothing boastful about it."

Prince Harry added, "If I heard anyone boasting about that kind of thing, I would be angry. But it's a lie. And hopefully, now that the book is out, people will be able to see the context. It's really troubling and very disturbing that they can get away with it. They had the context. It wasn't like, 'Here's just one line.' They had the whole section, they ripped it away and just said, 'Here it is. He's boasting on this.' ... And that's dangerous."

He continued his condemnation of the media coverage of his account, saying, "It's really troubling and very disturbing that they can get away with it... My words are not dangerous, but the spin of my words [is] very dangerous."

Asked if it's "dangerous" because it causes him and his family to be an "increased target," Prince Harry responded, "And that is a choice that they've made."

Colbert noted that the information in the book wasn't "new," referencing a decades-old article by Reuters that noted Prince Harry killed Afghans and members of the Taliban while at war.

Prince Harry confirmed it has been 10 years since his face "was splattered all over the front pages" due to the revelation. He said he was still in Afghanistan when someone asked him if he had killed anybody from an attack helicopter, and he responded "yes."

Prince Harry told Colbert that the "most important thing" was the reason he decided to write about it in his book in the first place.

The former military pilot said he wanted to set an example to other veterans when it came to sharing experiences from their service.

"To the vets here and to the civilians here — which this may feel as though this is slightly a weird conversation to have, especially on this show of all shows — I made a choice to share it because having spent nearly two decades working with veterans all around the world, I think the most important thing is to be honest and to be able to give space to others to be able to share their experiences without any shame," Prince Harry explained. "My whole goal and my attempt with sharing that detail [were] to reduce the number of suicides."

"Spare" was released Tuesday.

Prince Harry joined pop royalty including Jennifer Lopez at a star-studden concert in Los Angeles
Prince Harry joined pop royalty including Jennifer Lopez at a star-studden concert in Los Angeles AFP / VALERIE MACON