Former England rugby star James Haskell has defended his friend Prince Harry, saying it’s "important" for him to speak out on matters that are important to him.
Talking about Harry’s controversial Netflix documentary with his wife Meghan Markle, plus his explosive memoir Spare, James told OK! that Harry had the right to have a voice. He also branded the royal family "dysfunctional".
James – who is still in contact with Harry despite him now living in Los Angeles – said: "Everybody's entitled to an opportunity to say what they want, and when someone feels like they and their partner have been oppressed, lied about, contradicted and put into a corner, I think it's very important [to speak out]."
He added: "The royal family is a dysfunctional family, pretending they're ordained by God and they're not. They're literally like every family in the world."
Last month James, 37, spoke to Piers Morgan on his Talk TV show and discussed the Duke of Sussex’s decision to speak out on his TV show, in his book and in TV interviews.
James – who is married to Chloe Madeley – said: "Whether he should have spoken, what he said was right or wrong, that is another story. I just feel people in that position don't often get to tell their stories.
"I think he has done it in a way that most of his peers and his family have never had the opportunity to do.
"I think, for me, that is important because it cannot be misinterpreted, or shouldn't be misinterpreted."
Some of the damaging and shocking accusations in Harry’s book include his claim that his older brother physically attacked him and knocked him to the floor, causing physical injuries.
Recalling the alleged 2019 incident, Harry claimed William arrived at his former home he shared with his wife Meghan Markle, Nottingham Cottage, "piping hot" and branded his Meghan "difficult", "rude" and "abrasive".
Harry, 38, claims William "came at me".
He wrote: "He grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and he knocked me to the floor.
"I landed on the dog’s bowl, which cracked under my back, the pieces cutting into me. I lay there for a moment, dazed, then got to my feet and told him to get out."
Harry alleges that William – who he affectionately calls Willy in the book – had urged him to fight back, as they did when they were children, but that he had refused, leaving a “regretful” William to return later to apologise.
Harry also claims that William told him he didn’t need to let Meghan know what had happened and told him: "I didn’t attack you, Harold."
Also in the book, Harry recounts a meeting with his father and brother after Prince Philip's funeral in April 2021.
He recalls Charles standing between him and the heir "looking up at our flushed faces," Harry then quotes his father as saying, "Please boys, don't make my final years a misery."
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