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Not Only Prince Harry: How Other Royal "Spares" Are Managing With Not Being Number One

Here are five others who have survived second-in-line to the throne status. 

Last week, Prince Harry revealed the title of his highly anticipated tell-all memoir. The book, set to be published January 10, 2023, will be called Spare, a nod to where he stands in terms of the throne compared to his brother, Prince William, who is "heir." From what we know so far about the autobiography, it will take a deep dive into how being second-in-line to the British monarchy has shaped him into who he is today.

"I'm writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become," Harry said in a statement announcing the book. "I've worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story — the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned — I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think."

However, the Duke of Sussex isn't the only "spare" among royals. Here are a few others who have dealt with their second-to-the-throne status. 

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden


Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, 43, was born heir to Sweden's throne. At the time, the constitution took gender into account, skipping over any female heirs if a male was present. However, seven months into his life, the constitution was changed, giving his older sister, Victoria, heir status and relegating him to "spare."

The Prince, known for his movie star looks, has something else in common with Prince Harry: A controversial, high-profile partner. While Harry's love life was under major scrutiny when he fell in love with an American actress divorcee, Philip also warded off public opinion when he married model and reality star, Princess Sofia, who many didn't deem worthy of royal status.

Princess Astrid of Belgium

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Princess Astrid, the second child of King Albert II, is "spare" to her brother, Philippe, and many actually consider her a favorite of the siblings. Some believe that laws could be changed so that she could take over the throne. 

Infanta Cristina


Not all "spares" are beloved. Infanta Cristina of Spain, whose older brother is King Felipe, was tried in 2013 with her former husband, handball player Iñaki Urdangarin, for misusing her royal title and embezzling millions of dollars. While her former flame was found guilty, she was acquitted. However, she was still forced into exile in Geneva and stripped of her Royal titles. 

Princess Irene of The Netherlands

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Princess Irene of the Netherlands was once second in line to the Dutch throne, behind her sister Beatrix, who went on to become queen but abdicated in 2013 so her son could take over. While the "spare" in 1963, she went behind her mother's back and converted to catholicism so she could marry Prince Carlos.

The Netherlands government wasn't very happy about her decision and forced Irene to choose love over royal status and flee to Spain to marry her prince. Unfortunately, they didn't live happily ever after. She now resides in South Africa. 

RELATED: The Biggest Royal Romance Scandals of All Time

Princess Martha Louise of Norway

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Princess Martha Louise wasn't always the "spare" to the throne. The first-born of King Harald of Norway, she was set to become Queen, until her brother, Haakon, was born in 1973, and she was delegated down. She ended up giving up her Royal Highness title completely in 2002.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more
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