The British and American media have been full of news about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (aka the Duke and Duchess of Sussex). In case you have been living in a cave, this has centered around last week’s publication of Harry’s memoir Spare and the recent Netflix series about the couple.
A lot of people have asked me what I think about this breakdown in royal relations between the Prince and his family. Since I was born, raised and lived in the UK, but now am now proud to be an American who holds dual nationality for both countries, I can see this situation in a number of ways.
As a generalization, Americans are a more sympathetic to Harry and Meghan than the British public. Meghan is American by birth and has lived in the USA and Canada her whole life except for the very short time she tried to live in England after her engagement to Harry and in the early days of their marriage. I have to tell you that the majority of my British friends and family are extremely upset with Harry and, especially, Meghan.
So, what do I think? Like many people, I have limited free time and do not want to devote many hours of this precious resource to reading and watching everything I can about the Duke and Duchess. Of course, this does not stop me following what is happening and having a personal opinion.
On one hand, I am sympathetic to some of Harry’s obvious struggles. He openly admits to mental health challenges, and he was and is still terribly hurt by the death of his mother Princess Diana when he was only 12 years old. He struggled to cope with his father’s marriage to Camilla and the incessant media attention, fought in the British army against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and felt like the understudy that was never called to the stage as a star in his own right. He chose to name his book Spare as there is a traditional British saying that royalty need to produce ‘an heir and a spare’. This ensures the line of succession so that if something happened to the heir (Prince William in this case) there was a backup option (Prince Harry). Harry also says that he wishes to protect his wife and is demanding an apology for what he perceives to be the unfair way she was treated. Nobody really knows exactly what happened and what was said, except for the people directly involved…much like within any family.
On the other hand, I am shocked that Harry feels that he has to be so public about sharing family issues. Admittedly he is part of the most famous family in the world, but it still seems a betrayal, and it looks from the outside like he seeks to expose even the tiniest and sometimes ridiculous details in order to damage the royal family.
I am not saying that the British royal family is perfect, but I cannot agree with how Harry has gone about all this. I hate the “airing of dirty laundry” in public, which is perhaps my Britishness coming through, or just a general respect for privacy. I dislike the fact that Prince Harry has monetized his family – reports say that he was paid $100 million by Netflix and $20 million for his book. To be fair he is donating some of these profits to charity, which he can afford to do as his mother was reported to have left him and his brother over $10 million each and his great grandmother, the Queen mother, millions more.
It is not known if the Queen left him anything when she passed away last year, but I am concerned about the distress she must have felt when he abandoned the royal family during the last part of her life, in January 2020. I can’t help feeling that Harry and Meghan want to “have their cake and eat it too” as they seek to hold onto the advantages of royalty, such as their titles The Duke and Duchess of Sussex which they were given on their wedding day in May 2018, but without the work and sacrifice like the rest of his family. They also complain bitterly and constantly about their lack of privacy, yet seem determined to destroy the privacy of the rest of his family. It is very sad that the closeness that the brothers enjoyed has probably gone forever and I respect that the royal family, at the time of writing this article, have maintained a dignified silence about Harry’s allegations. This is just my personal opinion and I respect that others will feel differently. There is more information at www.bbc.co.uk
I will leave you with a quote from Harry himself which is, in my opinion, unrealistically optimistic on his part. “Forgiveness is 100 per cent a possibility because I would like to get my father back. I would like to have my brother back. At the moment, I don’t recognize them, as much as they probably don’t recognize me.”
God Bless America and the British royal family!
Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or via her PR and marketing agency at www.lesleyfrancispr.com