A Post About Something I Shouldn't Care About

I have admitted in the past the entertainment and gossip news media have an impact on me whether I like it or not. I react to the news.  I feel for the people being reported on.  I take an interest in topics that are none of my business. 

There is part of me that enjoys reading about all kinds of people and their lives.  I don’t only take interest in celebrities. I love personal blogs. People and their stories fascinate me. 

What I shouldn’t be paying attention to are the stories that people themselves aren’t telling.  Unfortunately, the constant barrage of news and gossip grabs my attention every time.

To put this all in simpler terms, I shouldn’t have any interest in Harry and Meghan.  As an American I shouldn’t care about any British royalty.  We overthrew them two hundred and forty-four years ago.  Unfortunately, I was raised in a world where Disney (one of the dominant forms of entertainment in our culture) told me that people with royal titles are special, magical people who will always be the subject of beautiful romantic stories.  When one adds this cultural fascination with royalty to the constant presence of gossip media,  I can’t help caring too much about people I never met.

That being said, I’m going to weigh in on this whole “Megxit” thing, because it’s on my mind.

My reaction to it is, “Good for them.”

Looking back at 20th Century British history, Harry seems like an anomaly.  King Edward the VIII had to give up the throne in order to marry a divorced American woman.  Princess Margaret would have been excommunicated from the Church of England if she married her divorced lover.  British royalty doesn’t like divorce.  This has been an issue since the Reformation. 

In defiance of this tradition, the same queen who denied marriage to her sister, gave permission for her grandson to marry his divorced American sweetheart.  Harry was able to have privileges denied his great-great uncle and his great aunt.  Now he is throwing them away.  I can understand why the Royal Family might be a bit ticked off at him.

On the other hand, I don’t think Harry owes his family anything.

Prince Harry is his own person.  He is more than just a member of the royal family.  He has his own hopes and dreams.  He doesn’t owe his family a lifetime of royal duties any more than any other child owes his parents a lifetime of sticking to their plans.  Harry didn’t ask to be born a prince. 

I always say that nobody comes into this world by his own choice.  When your teenager defiantly declares, “I didn’t ask to be born,” she’s right.  We are all here because of our parents’ choices.  What they give us, what they do for us, what they provide for us, is what they choose to give.  Harry was born a prince and his family chose to shower him with the wealth and privilege inherent in the role with the idea his life would stay on a certain path.  Does he owe them now, and what does his family, and his subjects, think he owes them?

Besides, how much impact will a retreat from royal duties have on the family?  Harry is sixth in line to the throne.  He was born the spare and not the heir.  The current monarch is old, but she’s still going strong at 93.  Even if she dies tomorrow, there is still Prince Charles in between her and Harry’s generation.  If Charles lives as long as his mother, it will be over twenty years before William and Harry have to worry about the line of succession.  We don’t live in a world where the king is likely to be taken out by the bubonic plague or where heirs to the throne are murdered in their sleep.  Members of the royal family travel separately to make sure families will never die all at once in a car or plane crash.  When William assumes the throne, Harry will still have George, Charlotte, and Louis ahead of him.  Let’s say all of William’s family is assassinated or dies from some weird new mutant disease.  Charles has siblings and those siblings all have children.  The House of Windsor will not end if Prince Charles’ line dies out.

Harry is aware he has no place in succession, so why should he continue to feel obliged to fulfill royal duties?  What’s in it for him?  I know it gives him a position of prestige and wealth, but what price is he paying for it?  He can’t conduct the course of his own life.  He doesn’t want to spend his life existing in the Royal Family as an heir to a throne he will never inherit and do it on the taxpayers’ dime (pound?). There are members of the family who are happy to live that life.  Harry is an exception and he should be allowed to be an exception.

How much of the media outrage is about Meghan?  If Harry were still single and made this decision on his own, would it have as much of an impact?  Prior to their marriage they were media darlings.  Meghan seemed beloved all over the world.  Once the ink was dry on their marriage certificate the claws came out and Meghan became a villain overnight.  I have heard all the stories.  She treated her ex-husband badly.  She treated her family badly.  She is domineering over Harry.  She doesn’t behave the way a British royal should behave.  The list goes on.  Meghan may be as sweet as she seems on camera.  She may be as awful as the gossip columns want me to believe she is.  I don’t know Meghan and I never will, but most of the gossip columnists don’t know her either.  These strangers are trying to frame how I see another stranger.  The sad part is much of that is due to racism.  The current xenophobic attitudes pervading British culture and government make it hard for a foreigner who isn’t white to enter into a beloved institution (or at least an institution beloved by those who are racist and xenophobic).

What will they do next?  I’m sure Meghan will continue to pursue her acting career.  I could see Harry running a charity.  I could see both of them engaging in various types of advocacy.  She will fight for women’s issues and he will continue to champion the rights of the mentally ill.  Will he be able to handle the loss of income?  Can he live like a commoner?  If he decides he can’t, will the family let him back in?  Will the marriage survive this drastic life change?  Does Harry love Meghan enough to want to give up everything he has ever known to carve out a new and uncertain future with her?  (Uncle David did it for Wallis.  It’s not unheard of.) 

I don’t believe this will end the media scrutiny.  Harry and Meghan were too popular for too long.  They will remain public figures.  The public will always want to know what happened to them.  If Meghan returns to acting, she is bound to have fans who want to know more about her.  The gossip rags will be relentless in looking for signs of trouble in their marriage.  We will hear stories of impending divorce and how Harry is about to return to England as The Prodigal Son.  We will hear stories about how Charles and William and the Queen are shutting Harry out of their lives and want nothing more to do with a beloved family member.

Beloved family member.

This is what concerns me most about the whole situation.  Children have disappointed their parents for all of human history.  Children take different paths from what their parents expected.  In most cases, family remains family.  Good parents love and accept their children no matter what choices their children make.  Is the Royal Family only about duty?  Will Charles still remember that Harry is his son?  Does Queen Elizabeth love her grandson more than she loves the throne?  Will he still be accepted as a family member even if he doesn’t care to be in the lineup of figureheads?  I hope so.  Harry shouldn’t have to choose between being miserable in a job he hates and being separated from all of the people he loves.  I hope next year he and Meghan spend Christmas as Sandringham – not because it’s his royal duty to do so, but because he wants to make sure he doesn’t miss Christmas with his aging Granny.

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