Prince Harry and Princess Meghan’s Royal Family Split- It’s Complicated

An Epic Modern Day Family Feud

Flickr-Marcel Kochen

Let’s face it, we love stories of epic family feuds and family dramas. Just think of any Shakespearian story, like Romeo and Juliet, The Sopranos, Greek tragedies, The Godfather, biblical stories, like Cain vs. Abel, Dynasty, Succession, and the list can go on and on.

By now, you are likely aware Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are involved in a real-life family saga as they publicly declare they are stepping back from the stronghold of the Royal Family and all the expectations required of them. Search #Megxit on Twitter and your head will spin from the vast array of opinions about why or why not they should cut their Royal Family ties. You may end up going down a rabbit hole with a litany of thoughts on Harry’s true claims for financial independence. I think, in the end, this is all about mental health.

I am not one to get involved in soap opera/tabloid gossip, but I felt like this story was compelling enough to write/podcast about because it involves something we all deeply care about- our family’s mental health and well-being.

I completely support the decision for Prince Harry and Princess Meghan to take a step back from the glaring spotlight, not just for their mental health, but for the future of baby Archie’s mental health. We all can learn a lot from how Meghan and Harry, new parents, understand they need to take hold of what is most important to them, and that is their sanity. Prince Harry is a former soldier who is not afraid of a fight. Meghan is an independent woman who made a name for herself in Hollywood on her own terms. Together, they are showing us all what a united front looks like as they tackle the establishment, known as The Royal Family.

When Meghan became a living princess by marrying her prince, the union felt like a modern fairy tale love story, as a pure-blooded British prince married for true love outside of his race and country of origin. Their union gave people all over the world hope that the most powerful family in the world was welcoming Meghan in to create a new lineage that was not exclusive. We sat at the edge of our seats as we watched the Royal wedding, and how Meghan celebrated her African-American heritage.

Flickr- Sue

Like all family sagas, the pretty pictures showing impeccably styled gowns and pillbox hats couldn’t erase what was really happening behind closed doors. There is no such thing as a perfect fairy tale life, even if you are a princess living in a real castle. Like I say all the time on my podcast, Dear Family, there is no such thing as a picture-perfect family, and every family, even the Royals, have secrets and generational trauma that gets passed down the family line unless it is addressed.

The Queen initially released a statement summing up her grandson’s request to split from his Royal duties by saying, “It’s complicated.” The Royal Family, and the traditionalists, may want to blame Meghan, but it’s wrong to do so. How can they fault Prince Harry and Princess Meghan for wanting to forgo their own path while continuing to be philanthropic, just like Princess Diana wanted?

Fortunately, with our changing times the Queen moved towards modern Royal Family life by releasing a new statement giving Harry and Meghan her blessing to scale back their royal role. Two steps forward and one step back is still progress forward. We’ll take it!

Princess Diana- Wiki

Let’s not lose sight of the importance of putting our mental health first. The trauma Prince Harry endures from the hounding paparazzi writing false stories and following him and Meghan around like they did his mother, Princess Diana must feel like an ever-present dark shadow. Prince Harry’s private battles of PTSD didn’t truly surface after the death of his mother for 20 years. It wasn’t until Prince Harry recognized the toll of his beloved mother, Princess Diana’s untimely and horrific death on his mental health, that he began to find his voice and his goal to live in peace and inspire others to do the same.

I admire Prince Harry for not carrying the toxic environment into his new life to pass on to his son Archie. He is cutting the generational trauma and I applaud him for it. His mother’s hounding spotlight literally killed her. Harry is doing what any husband and father should, and that is to protect the loves of his life, his wife and child from the critical and unfair bright lens of the paparazzi and tabloids that sadly seems to often have a racist spin.

Unlike the picture the media is painting as a Royal House divided, Prince Harry stands next to his brother, Prince William as they highlight their mental health initiative, “Heads Together.” Together the Royal Princes spearheaded a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health. Together, the brothers are spreading the word and fundraising for innovative mental health services. But for Prince Harry, his mental health advocacy feels even more personal as he watches the media be especially cruel to his wife.

Prince Harry and Princess Meghan- Wiki

Tara Westover, in her amazing memoir “Educated”, says, “You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them.”

Some family dynamics are just toxic and a 2-minute phone conversation can trigger a spiral of emotions that take one back to an ugly childhood. Just like Meghan and Harry are doing, sometimes you need to step back and protect yourself.

I think this goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. If a family member is physically or extremely emotionally abusive, your best course of action is to remove yourself from the relationship. Cutting a toxic family member out of your life may not be possible. In that case, approaching situations with compassion for yourself and even for your family members will help you not only forgive them but be less emotionally detached.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have family estates to inherit, let alone the ability to enjoy a vacation or even a meal with their family. What makes family so complicated, besides our literal family ties, is that our family members have known us the longest. Their biting criticism is often unfiltered, as they jab you about your awkward teen looks, your past mistakes on stage, on the basketball court, in school, at a job, and so on. They may say they are teasing, but we all have felt how words can wound. If they go the other direction and give you the silent treatment, it may feel like the most hurtful thing imaginable. And then there are complications with money, inherited or otherwise. Just ask any estate attorney if she or he deals with family in-fighting, and guaranteed the answer will be a resounding, “Yes!”

We don’t choose the family we are born into, but we can create a full and happy life based on who we choose to love. You’ve all heard this before, but our best friends, and I’ll add our significant others, are the family we choose. If we are lucky enough to enjoy and get along with our families, or at least some of the family members, we are even more blessed. Just remember, you can be like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and remove yourself from a toxic family dynamic if you need to because your mental well-being comes first.

Host of “Dear Family,” the Podcast, Writer, Educator, and Mental Health Advocate

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store