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I admit that I am not a close follower of the British royals or anything, but I cannot help but hear about them whenever they make news. That being said, I am open to correction on anything I get wrong since I am not interested enough to do a lot of homework on it.
The latest kerfuffle has been caused by Prince Harry in his memoir, Spare. The term “spare” refers to the ancient practice of making sure the king had at least two male heirs who could become king when the king himself died. Until recently, life was much more uncertain than it is now and children frequently died. So it was prudent for a king to produce more than one possible heir to the throne, hence the term “heir and a spare.” As we are all well aware, Harry is the ‘spare’ and his brother William is the ‘heir.’
I imagine that being part of the royal family, especially if one is directly in line for the throne, can be a terrible burden. You live in a fishbowl and everything about you and your family is scrutinized. The expectations are extremely high. You are constantly being told what to do and how to do it. It is not something I would ever wish to experience.
At the same time, a prince has enormous privileges and rights. Fulfilling his duties, he would never lack anything and have just about anything he wished. He would never have to worry about how to make a living. I wonder if he has even ever had to make his own bed or cook his own dinner, much less clean his bathroom.
At the same time, I would not blame him or any other royal who “wanted out” of onerous royal duties and responsibilities. I am perfectly fine with him walking away and saying that he just wants to lead a normal life. But when he walks away, he ought to give up the privileges and income, too. He ought to live like the rest of us. He ought to give up the royal title and the perks that come with it, except for the security he might need to keep from being a hostage or target of some nut.
But Harry has decided to become a crybaby. Ignoring his great privileges and status, he wants to “expose” the supposed abuse he and his wife have suffered and the loneliness he experienced in his earlier days. He says that he was physically attacked by his brother in an argument. He says his wife suffered racial abuse. Maybe that is all true.
I have an older brother, too. He was the “favorite”; I was not. He was given cooler cars to drive. He was treated special. Once when I called my parents (as a good son does). I was told not to call at that time of the week since that was when my brother called. I could go on and on, but everyone will tire of reading about it. If I wanted to, I could make myself out to be a victim. I could nurse grievances if I chose too. (I have a lot bigger potential grievances than what I have mentioned.) I could have let it occupy my mind and believe that I have been terribly treated and I could dwell on the negative, but what would be the point except to make myself miserable and ruin my relationship with them.
The Bible says to forgive one another and to honor one’s father and mother. I have done that to the best of my ability. I am not going to harbor a grudge, no matter how much it might be deserved. And I was not physically abused or shunned or pushed aside. I simply was not treated quite equally with my brother. But I am thankful for all the good things my parents did for me. I had a car to drive as a teenager. They paid for my college education and made sure I went to good schools. I even got a motorcycle for my 16th birthday! Should I complain because my brother got a better one?
Harry has decided to become a victim and I frankly find it pathetic. We might wonder how a child of such great privilege became seemingly embittered. How did he become a victim? Unfortunately, victimhood is a good thing in this sick culture of ours. We think that people will feel sorry for us.
This whole thing reminds me of an article I read years ago. Minorities attending a prestigious university were protesting how horrible it was to be “victims of discrimination” and a “racist society.” The author of the article noted how privileged these crybabies really were. They were receiving an education that the ancient Greeks could only dream of. Their lives were much easier and more comfortable than the kings of medieval Europe. Compared to the rest of every human being who has lived on this planet, they are the 1% of the 1% of the 1% and on and on.
I do not minimize true human suffering. Prince Harry suffered the loss of his mom in terrible circumstances. I feel for him in that respect. All of us suffer – some more and some less. We ought to have compassion on those who suffer and help as we can.
But this victim mentality is poison and it has seeped into the royal family. I think of the late Queen Elizabeth and how she performed her duty without complaint. I don’t think that the worst things for her were the obligations of her position or following every little protocol to the letter or even the “fishbowl” she lived in. I think it was putting up with her relatives who seemed determined to bring scandal on the family and the UK.
Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if Harry had written a memoir of his life in the royal family that showed the gratefulness we should expect people of privilege to have. Of course, he would have to show a lot of humility instead of bragging about how many Afghans he shot. And there would be the sad chapter about the devastation that he felt with the loss of his mother. Then people would have seen that despite his privilege, he was a vulnerable human like the rest of us. He could be the royal that we really relate to. He could be “Harry, formerly known as Prince.”Published in