The Duke of Sussex, 38, was briefly taken with the late TV presenter after meeting her at a restaurant during a night out with mutual friends in 2009.
“Flack, they called her,” Harry wrote in the book, which will be released on Tuesday, January 10, noting that they were introduced “months after [ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy] and I had gone our separate ways.”
Though the former Love Island U.K. host was a well-known TV personality in England, Harry liked that “she wasn’t taken aback that I didn’t recognize her.” The prince described her as “funny,” “sweet” and “cool,” adding that “she didn’t have a big ego.”
The twosome went out for “dinner and games” a few days after their initial meet-cute. After they began spending more time with each other, Harry and Flack were photographed together — a moment that ultimately ended their brief romance.
“Very soon after they papped me and Flack, those photos set off a frenzy. Within hours a mob was camped outside Flack’s parents’ house, and all her friends’ houses, and her grandparents’ house,” Harry recalled in Spare. “She was described in one paper as my ‘bit of rough,’ because she once worked in a factory or something. Jesus, I thought, are we really such a country of insufferable snobs?”
The Archewell cofounder noted that while he “continued to see Flack on and off,” neither one of them felt “free.”
“We kept on, I think, because we genuinely enjoyed each other’s company, and because we didn’t want to admit defeat at the hands of these arseholes,” he penned. “But the relationship was tainted, irredeemably, and in time we realized it just wasn’t worth the grief and harassment. Especially for her family. Goodbye, we said. Goodbye and good luck.”
Years later, as Harry and Meghan, 41, dealt with the aftermath of their royal exit announcement, Harry received “the horrible news” in February 2020 that Flack had died by suicide. “She couldn’t stand it anymore, apparently,” he wrote. “The relentless abuse at the hands of the press, year after year, had finally broken her.”
The former military pilot continued: “I felt so awful for her family. I remembered how they’d all suffered for her mortal sin of going out with me. She’d been so light and funny that night we met. The definition of carefree.”
Harry called the loss of his old flame “an important reminder,” especially after Meghan expressed her own suicidal thoughts to him during her first pregnancy. (The pair share son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 19 months.)
“I wasn’t being overdramatic, I wasn’t warning about things that would never happen,” he explained, referring to his and the Suits alum’s long clash with the U.K. tabloids. “What Meg and I were dealing with was indeed a question of life and death. And time was running out.”
Ahead of her death at age 40, Flack recalled her brief romance with — and subsequent split from — Harry in her own memoir, 2014’s Storm in a C Cup.
“I was no longer Caroline Flack, TV presenter, I was Caroline Flack, Prince Harry’s bit of rough,” she wrote, referencing the nickname given to her by the British press. “Once the story got out, that was it. We had to stop seeing each other.”
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.