keeping up with the royals

A Guide to the Very British Nicknames in Spare

Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Putting all the royal family drama and juicy personal details aside, Prince Harry’s memoir Spare is proof of one thing: this man loves a nickname. He gives them to anyone and everyone in his book, sparing no one from his very, uh, unique sense of humor. To be fair to Prince Harry, nicknames can be difficult to give and are often quite personal, but he did choose to publish his nicknames in print, and so we must now sit and ponder their meaning. Here’s a guide to the who’s who of Harry’s extremely British nicknames in Spare.

Harold, H, Haz, or Spike

This one’s a real head-scratcher. In the book, Harry, who was born Henry Charles Albert David — reveals that his brother and father both call him Harold, which many have pointed out is slightly confusing given that he isn’t actually named Harold at all. (Harry is already a nickname for Henry.) Meanwhile, his friends call him H, his wife calls him Haz, and he also mentioned during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that others have called him “Baz, Bazza, Spike, Bazzarooni.” I have no idea where those last few come from (SPIKE?), but I’m here if Harry ever wants to explain.


This one is pretty simple to figure out: Willy is what Harry calls his brother, William. It is not what he calls his penis, but more on that later.


Is “Pa” a nickname or another family title? Either way, it’s worth including for clarity’s sake. Fun fact: Archie calls Prince Harry “Papa,” or at least that’s what Meghan Markle called her husband in a sweet home video featured in their Harry & Meghan docuseries.


Again, not a particularly surprising nickname, although it is worth noting that the Queen didn’t insist on something more formal, like Grandmother or Grandmama, as one might expect.

Bee, Wasp, and Fly

Harry’s distaste for palace culture is clear in Spare, as he reportedly frequently mentions three particular “courtiers” he claims were unfair to him and his wife. Identified only as Bee, Wasp, and Fly, these three are described as “all middle-aged white men who’d managed to consolidate power through a series of bold Machiavellian maneuvers.” The New York Times reported that these three men are Edward Young, former private secretary to the queen, Clive Alderton, private secretary to Charles, and Simon Case, formerly William’s private secretary and now government Cabinet Secretary, but it’s unclear which was Bee, Wasp, or Fly.

Rehabber Kooks

Harry was so traumatized by the tabloids in his youth, that he apparently can’t even bare to say the name of former Sun and News of the World editor, Rebekah Brooks. As reported by Gawker, in his book, Harry recalls the time the tabloids ran a seven-page story about his drug usage in 2001, titled “Harry’s Drugs Shame.” The article claimed that Harry was a “habitual drug user” who had gone to rehab — both of which the Prince insists are untrue. Harry was devastated by the ordeal, and can only refer to the editor, who he later refers to as “a loathsome toad,” as Rehabber Kooks. (In Harry’s defense, Brooks was running News of the World when the paper was accused of phone hacking.)

Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber

I honestly don’t hate this combination of Alice in Wonderland and Dumb and Dumber to describe two paparazzi who, according to The Independent, once pursued him so aggressively, his bodyguard almost pulled out a gun.

Billy the Rock

Harry frequently shouts out Billy the Rock, a bodyguard who not only saved Harry from Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, but also, per the LA Times, stopped him from drunkenly getting a tattoo during his 2012 trip to Las Vegas.

The Thumb

The Thumb is the slightly less inventive nickname for a tabloid reporter who, as reported by the NY Times, exaggerated a story about Harry hurting his thumb while playing rugby at Eton College. I’m going to choose to see this as confirmation that Prince Harry has seen Spy Kids. There’s just no other explanation in my mind.

Sad Little Man

Though only mentioned once in passing, the “sad little man” Harry mentions when referencing the showbiz editor of The Sun is milking it for all it’s worth and then some. In the book, Harry accuses this “sad little man” of collaborating with William’s comms secretary and printing “trivial (and mostly fake) gossip.” The man in question is Don Wootton, who has attempted to hit back on his talk show, Dan Wootton Tonight.


This isn’t so much a nickname as slang and, believe me, I don’t want to talk about Prince Harry’s penis any more than the next person, but here we are. In the book, Harry describes a time that he returned from a trip to the North Pole with a bit of a situation. “Upon arriving home, I’d been horrified to discover that my nether regions were frostnipped as well,” he wrote, per the Los Angeles Times, adding, “And while the ears and cheeks were already healing, the todger wasn’t.” Thank god for Elizabeth Arden cream — he used that to ease the pain until he could seek medical attention.

A Guide to the Very British Nicknames in Spare