The studio audience in New York chanted “Harry! Harry!” However, British monarchists are likely to view the bawdy exchange as yet another blow to the dignity of the royal family.
Prince Harry did his book tour on US late night television on Tuesday and found himself facing questions about a trip to the North Pole during which his genitals suffered from frostbite.
He appeared unfazed and amused by the interview with comedian Stephen Colbert, who wondered aloud: ‘No one in my life as a child could ever explain to me that one day the Duke of Sussex was going to say the words ‘cock cushion’ to me and it would all make sense. It’s absolutely surreal.
Harry’s book Spare went on sale on Tuesday. The publisher, Transworld Penguin Random House, said 400,000 hardback, e-book and audiobook copies were sold in the UK on the first day alone. Harry had promoted it through interviews on Britain’s ITV and the US news series 60 Minutes, which had its best viewership of the season with a total of 11.2 million viewers.
But an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS was more of a gamble. Colbert once roasted President George W Bush at the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner and built a television career by ruthlessly ridiculing politicians and the media.
Unsurprisingly, the host couldn’t resist picking up a passage in which Harry, 38, describes how a visit to the North Pole left him with mild frostbite to his penis that lingered through his wedding. brother with Kate.
“Can you explain how it is that the royal standard has been frozen?” asked Colbert with evident pleasure. “Explain to us. Take all the time in the world.
Harry replied, “Can I have a drink?” How long have you been waiting to ask this question? »
Colbert said, “Since I read the book yesterday.”
In what it’s safe to assume is a first for a member of the royal family, Harry said: “We’ve taken a huge leap from grief and trauma to my todger.”
Colbert said, “Todger. It’s a very sweet word. Todger. Sounds like a cute nickname. You know, my friends, this is Willy, this is Todger, this is John Thomas.
He then asked, “How was it frozen? Why didn’t you take care of the royal jewels?
Harry laughed and said the context was important. Colbert said: “The context is that you are going to the North Pole and things have gotten very cold. When did you realize there was a crisis at the South Pole? »
The audience screamed. Harry insisted, “It didn’t turn into an ice cube.” He explained that he joined military veterans on a walk to the North Pole and brought all the necessary equipment except for a “rooster pad” to keep warm.
The show also started on a light note as Harry was greeted by two uniformed trumpeters at CBS Studios in New York. He said, “Stephen, not necessary, but thank you, I appreciate it.” Colbert replied, “What are you talking about? It’s not for you. Wait, aside. He’s coming!” Hollywood star Tom Hanks then appeared and Harry threw petals at him.
Later, Colbert poured Harry a shot of tequila and learned he was watching and “fact-checking” Netflix drama series The Crown. But he also covered some serious territory, asking if Harry thinks the Royal Family is actively campaigning to undermine the book.
“Of course,” he said, adding that the British media were doing the same. “But that’s the other side of the story, right? After 38 years, they told their side of the story. That’s the other side of the story and there’s a lot of stuff in there that maybe makes people feel uncomfortable and scared.
Harry gave the example of his memories of serving in the British Army in Afghanistan. He writes that on his second tour, as an Apache helicopter co-pilot and gunner, he killed 25 Taliban militants, feeling neither satisfaction nor shame from his actions. Some veterans and military leaders said publishing a tally breached an unspoken military code, potentially increasing the security risk to Harry and British forces.
When questioned by Colbert, the Duke defended the disclosure and claimed it had been twisted by the media without context. “Without a doubt, the most dangerous lie they told was that I somehow bragged about the number of people I killed in Afghanistan.”
He continued, “I would say if I heard anyone else or if I heard anyone bragging about this stuff, I would be angry. But that’s a lie and I hope now that the book is out people can see the context. It’s really disturbing and very disturbing that they could get away with it because they had the context. It wasn’t like here’s a single line. They had the whole section. They ripped it off and just said, there you go, he’s bragging about it…and it’s dangerous. And my words are not dangerous but the turn of my words is very dangerous.
Colbert asked, “Dangerous because it makes you an increased target – those around you whom you love?”
Harry agreed and said, “It’s a choice they made.”
The Duke explained that his motive, after spending almost two decades working with veterans around the world, was to be honest and share his experiences without shame. “My goal and my attempt to share this detail is to reduce the number of suicides.”
In the book, Harry recounts how his father broke the news of his mother, Diana’s death, but did not offer a hug. He also shares details of his anger at the British media and his strained relationship with William and his extended family, which worsened after he began a relationship with Meghan Markle, the mixed-race American actor whom he married in 2018.
As Colbert delved into this aspect, Harry joked with the studio audience, “Kind of like group therapy.”
Colbert himself was 10 years old when he lost his father and two teenage brothers in a plane crash. He discussed the grief with interviewees including Joe Biden and CNN host Anderson Cooper. He asked Harry, “If your mother was still alive, have you ever thought about how she might handle this moment?”
Harry replied, “It’s impossible to say where we would be now, where those relationships would be now, but there’s no way the distance between my brother and me would be the same.” He said he had felt Diana’s presence more in the past two years than in the past 30.
He reflected: ‘She passed away at 36 and I was 36 when it all started, like January 2020, that’s when my wife and I said enough, we can’t cope, we can’t not handle that, we have to carve something different. So it was an interesting time overlap.