I’m no stranger to family drama. I imagine that holds true for all of us.
No one in my family would deny, with a straight face anyway, that our family is complex.
We were the ultimate blended family with half siblings, step-parents, step-siblings, step-nieces, a couple of divorces, including my Mum’s from my father, and second and even third marriages. My mum has been a widow, a divorcee, and then a widow again. My sisters and brother were born with one name, and grew up with another. Mum married at 18 and was a widow with three small children by age 23. Then when my father married my mother, he adopted my sisters and my brother and changed their names. He and my mum thought it would help them all to bond as a family. Then I came along. A few years later when I was five my parents separated. And Mum, after many years alone with us kids, married my stepfather, a widower with one son.
Mum used to laugh and say that, when the phone rang, she would answer to any name the caller chose to throw at her: Mrs. Burpee, Mrs. McGibbon, even Mrs. Knowles when someone from her very distant past got in touch. It was easier than explaining.
But the explanation is that when life threw stuff at Mum she just kept moving. And so did we. And that’s the abbreviated, expurgated version of my family story.
I’m not saying we all got along all the time. I’m not saying that I and my sisters and brothers didn’t suffer from childhood trauma. Although it took different forms for each of us, we’re all children who lost a parent. And that’s hard for kids.
I’m not saying that we didn’t yell at one another sometimes. Feel resentment. Nor that family alliances didn’t form and reform as we grew up and changed. We’re all very different people. But we love each other even when it can sometimes seem that we don’t like each other. Even when we grow exasperated with each other, we know it will pass. Resentment will be subsumed by fondness, and love. And that feeling of knowing the other so very well that we will forgive them whatever transgression we might imagine they have made. Because, let’s face it, sometimes those transgressions ARE imagined. And may only seem like transgressions from our own perspective.
A little distance, a little time usually restores equanimity.
So I think we should be careful of the actions we take when we are all het up and pissed off.
I’m reminded of the times when, as a child, I’d be angry at a friend, mouth off to Mum, then make up with the friend the next day. And one time Mum said I should probably wait a while before ranting about my friend to her, or to anyone. She said I couldn’t expect her, or whomever, to forget what I’d said in anger. That my words had changed her impression of my friend. And now she saw them in a different light.
I felt terrible when my mum told me that. My words had been intemperate, my friend had not deserved my ire quite as much as I let on, and I could not take back what I had said. I’ve never forgotten Mum’s advice.
Now when people make me angry, I try to keep my mouth shut. But when I am unable to do so, I choose my audience very carefully. Only trusted friends hear about it when Hubby, or someone else I love, is driving me up the wall. These are friends who know me, and who know the people about whom I am ranting. And who do their own reciprocal ranting when the spirit moves them.
And so here is the point of my story. When I was at home in New Brunswick my sister Carolyn and I watched the docu-drama Harry and Meghan on Netflix.
I know, I know. I told myself that I wouldn’t watch it. But I did. The first instalment, anyway. My god… three whole hours. I plead inertia. We talked through most of it. Exclaimed at some of it. Swore a little… that was me, of course. And at the end of each portion we said, okay that’s enough, but then we laughed… and kept watching.
And after watching those three hours, which were at times a bit boring… and exasperating… I have this to say.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex seem to be in love. Good for them. But other than his royal connections, they seem to me to be quite unexceptional people, who have lived quite unexceptional lives. They have each had struggles, and experienced loss. Just like the rest of us.
But wow. What is exceptional is the airing of family dirty laundry in such a very public way. On Netflix. For a whole lot of money. I think that’s kind of shocking. And a shame. And something I think that Harry, at least, may come to regret doing.
You know, there’s a reason I told the story of my family at the beginning of this post. The expurgated version. And no more. I wanted to show that I am familiar with family drama. With loss and pain. But the story of my family is not just my story. It belongs to everyone in my family and is, as such, not entirely mine to tell. So there are parts I don’t tell, and other parts where I will tell only as much as I deem appropriate. Because I recognize that we each have a different perspective of family events. And because… well… boundaries.
Boundaries are good, I think.
When I was teaching, I told stories about myself to my students. Funny stories. Stories about Hubby’s and my camping adventures. Silly stories about our cats. Or about growing up on the farm. These were stories that I deemed relevant to what I was teaching. Stories that were more personal would have been inappropriate. As a teacher I had to create a certain amount of distance between myself and my students, establish boundaries.
It’s much the same with blogging. Although you guys are adults, and not high school students, I still set boundaries when I tell stories about myself and my family.
And I am wondering if Harry, and possibly Megan, will, in the future, wish that they had respected boundaries, and not been so willing to tell all.
Because it stands to reason that if one person in a family has experienced trauma, then others in the family have as well. Maybe in not the exact same way. But in their own way. And I think it’s short-sighted to dwell only on one’s own trauma. To speak out so intemperately. Especially in such a public way. Without considering the possible damage to others in our family who might also be hurting.
But what do I know? I am not a royal. I have no real idea of the pressure experienced by the royals. How it feels to be constantly in the public eye. To be plagued by paparazzi. I’m not even British. And not much of a royalist.
I’m just a Canadian who is mildly interested in the doings of the royal family. Who has always liked Princess Anne. And who felt sorry for Prince Charles. Who admits to being happy that Camilla and Charles finally, finally got together. And who at the moment wishes that all the palaver about Harry and Meghan would just stop.
So I should probably apologize for blabbing about them in this post. When will I learn to keep my mouth shut? Eh?
Anyway, that’s enough from me tonight. I’m back home with Hubby now. I landed in Ottawa just ahead of a big snowstorm. Hubby has been shovelling all day while I’ve been doing laundry and unpacking. We’ll be busy getting ready for Christmas this week, but I plan on posting once more before Santa Claus arrives. And it won’t be a rant. I promise. Ha.
81 thoughts on “On Family Drama”
You will never get that 3 hours back … hahaha.
For people saying that they want privacy, they have certainly opened themselves up to the world …. for money.
For Harry to be so traumatized by his brother yelling at him … really!! He was planning to disrupt not only his life, but those of his family. I am sure people yelled when Edward abdicated. It seems like a very ‘normal’ response to me.
He misses the UK, his family and friends, but he brought it on himself. Once his book comes out, I’m sure he will suffer more losses.
My opinion is that they are whining and money grubbing. Don’t get me started on them expecting an apology.
God Save the King and the royal family 🙂
I think family arguments when no one comes off looking good, and emotions run high, should be kept private. I’ll probably stay off of social media when the memoir comes out in January. 🙂
I haven’t watched the Netflix programme . Mainly because I expected it to be boring . I’ll be straight , although British , I am absolutely not a royalist . I take no interest in the royals . They seem a pretty harmless bunch , albeit quite dim . Some of them keep busy in their own way but they don’t understand the concept of a hard days work & are generally incapable of functioning without hoards of staff . They perpetuate a class system which favours a small part of society & costs we taxpayers a great deal of money . Yes presidents are expensive ( & often just as dim ) but they have a limited tenure .
That does not mean I have any sympathy for H & M . He’s the prime example of a spoilt aristo without empathy for those who are really suffering . Yes , losing his mother was dreadful but it happens to many , many children & they don’t have the cushion of wealth – palaces , ski holidays , shooting /hunting weekends in the country , jaunts all over the world , parties , nightclubs , polo ponies etc . Many motherless children are lucky to get food & warmth , with not a nanny in sight . I’ve a friend who’s daughter met Harry when he was a child & she said he was spoilt & undisciplined , misbehaving badly & not considering anyones feelings . Perhaps cute in a youngster , not so appealing in his late 30s .
As for Megan ……. When she first appeared I , like everyone I know , felt she was a breath of fresh air that would lift the royals out of their stuffy routines . She wasn’t pompous , her background was ordinary , she loved her scruffy rescue dogs , she wouldn’t attend the country birdshoots & she cared about the planet . We were all taken in . We gradually learnt more about her . The layers peeled back & it wasn’t pretty . There have been so many untruths & now we Brit’s are disenchanted , so we are all racists apparently . Every small slight seems to be racism . Yes , the press have given her a hard time but that’s the price of being an over privileged royal I’m afraid . Anne had it in her day , Kate too . It goes along with the private planes , designer outfits & pot of gold .
It’s all turned into a tacky soap opera now but for how much longer can these two regurgitate their so called grievances & bitterness ? I don’t see a happy ending .
I haven’t watched and now I certainly won’t bother.
Oh Grace , you’re right . Looking at again it does come over as rather a rant ! At least I didn’t swear 😉
No worries, Wendy. Rant away. 🙂
Thanks for the grace to offer, and accept, the expurgated version of families’ history. I love looking at my own life and other people’s, royal or not, and giggling. Lighten up and enjoy it, of course with the disclaimer that “this story is from my point of view; feel free to have your own.”
It’s hard to parse out which slights from the media are racist and which are not. There were a couple of clearly racist comments in the press that I read about. But mostly I haven’t followed the coverage. It’s too wearying. I do think that Harry’s shots at his father were not fair. And how sad to have all this dirty laundry aired in public. I think I need to retreat from all the hype with a good book…. about regular people. 🙂
Bravo Wendy! What a well written perspective! As they did not ask for this life of royalty-they were given a better start than the most of us. I watched the documentary-drama and was not impressed. I always had a soft spot for Harry ( being a ginger as well) but now his light has dimmed. Good manners and carries himself well. I think searched for a woman like Meghan, he wanted someone that could serve as scapegoat. They did not need to flee the UK. They could have quietly worked it out-come to a compromise and as they say “Keep calm and carry on”.
Couple of spoiled brats and she reminds me of those women who turn the most innocent remarks into insults against herself. Attention seeking drama queens
Sue and Wendy – I very much enjoyed your perspectives here and agree with you about H and M. I, too, thought she was great at first, although I must say that when I read the Vanity Fair article where she talked about the relationship, that did give me pause. I don’t think any other partners of royals had spoken in the press about their relationships, especially not before marriage, so I wondered about that. Then of course there was the engagement interview – he hardly got a word in!
I haven’t watched either ‘volume’ of their story on Netflix, but I’ve gleaned enough from other sources and I really think it’s time they both just stfu (pardon my French!).
I haven’t watched it but it is hard to miss mentions in the press. Not a royalist, not a republican but heartily sick and tired of all the hoo-hah. My only real comment is that this is the result of years, decades of very poor decisions and actions, now come home to roost. And our tabloid press adores every dirty second. The best revenge, surely, is to live well. So get on with it and please, no more from either side.
I won’t be watching it and can’t help wondering why they don’t just go away and live their lives quietly, why bash everybody and whine about everything? Oh, wait, that won’t pay millions of dollars. And I suppose the more dramatic, the more it pays. Those two may end up like Wallis and Edward.
Ending up like Wallis and Edward. Now that would be a sad thing wouldn’t it?
Currently reading a series set during Henry VIII times. Now there was a screwed up royal Ha.
I am post surgery and on limited activity for several weeks. As such my darling daughter insisted that we watch the H and M docs. We talked about them incessantly for several days. I must say that both of us agree with all of the comments above. Wholeheartedly. I was terribly sad at the end of final episode. Somethings are better left unsaid. My mother was a great proponent of letting time and distance heal your wounds. In this situation I agree that would have been a far better approach. I hope they don’t learn that lesson at the hands of their children. Glad you made it home ahead of the snow. Your scarf looks quite lovely with your coat.
It was wonderful to have a total snow day once I was home. Well, except for Hubby who was shovelling the walkways all day! Ha.
Beautifully said, Sue!
Well-written, as always. I wish I’d had your mum’s advice about words when I was young enough. It took me a while to learn that you can’t take back certain things, even if you believe they are true and you were right about saying them at the time.
Re. H&M – I would not watch that documentary as I don’t want them to receive more attention and the viewership just means they will keep on coming back. I find them both enraging. When I unpack it I think part of it is that I’m enraged by the label of feminist that gets plunked on MM. To me the work of a feminist, which I’ve tried to do in my own quiet way in my own life, is to go into the spaces where men have previously mostly reigned (no pun intended), and do the work, quietly and steadily. It’s to face harassment and keep going. It’s to keep your head held high and to believe in your own fundamental dignity while you do the work you are there to do, even if you are often being undermined. It is not about swanning around in designer clothing, or making grand statements and attending charity events, although I can see the attraction to that. There are millions of women and men around the world doing important work and yet the money and press spotlight go to these – as you state – unexceptional people. If they’d just humbly get on with repairing their lives as others do, wear some old clothes that they mended themselves, volunteered without expecting a return, they’d garner a bit of sympathy from me. As it is…nope. They may need money for a security detail, but they could do so in much more credible ways.
PS Forgot to say that I love that you used the word expurgated in your post. Whenever I see that word I have the image in my head of the little trucks that go around Florence to suck the sewage out of the septic tanks. 🙂 ( “spurghi” services, which is so evocative)
I agree, Steph. So many, many people doing good work unheralded. Without them nothing would change. When I watched the series I thought of several of my former students who are changing the world… quietly working hard because they believe in what they are doing. That’s partly why I said “ho-hum” when Megan and Harry talked about their “work.”
Beautifully articulated, Steph.
“A little distance, a little time usually restores equanimity.” That’s golden. Thank you, Sue.
I really enjoy your blog.
As an American, I have always had this desire to know more about the Royal Family. I have always wondered what their private lives were like. I watched the Crown knowing that it was not a real depiction. I do think the press mistreated Meghan at the beginning of their marriage. But this constant moaning and groaning from Harry and Meghan has gotten to be too much! It has become quite embarrassing. I have not watched the series on Netflix yet and not sure I will. Probably will turn me off to them even more. I just wish they would shut up. They seem to have no dignity. Harry seems hell-bent on a complete cutoff from his family in Britain.
If their documentary had just been about the intrusive press I would have been more interested. But it was simply too much cringe-worthy detail about their early lives and their relationship. Too much ick. 🙂
Well written post and comments. Hope everyone has happy holidays- Mary Lou
Same to you, Mary Lou.
Good to hear you made it home ahead of the storm. I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote. I try to follow the wisdom of taking a breath and thinking before lashing out and saying in haste what I will probably regret later. The ability to spread feelings instantly on social media makes it even harder for young people to practise restraint.
It’s nice to see you’re enjoying your coat and that perfect scarf. I think maybe you’ll consider it your best purchase of the year….next to the bathroom reno of course. Thanks for the wintery photos.
I think my coat will turn out to be the best purchase for 2022. I’m so surprised that it works with my multicoloured scarf. Especially the teal side. But somehow it does.
I suggest you watch the last 3 episodes before commenting.
I think your advice about boundaries and keeping ones angry comments to a trusted few are so wise….I’m still learning at 70!
The comments are also interesting, and I can certainly understand “royal fatigue”. Not sure I understand the ” we are all racist” comment. It still surprises me when racism is minimized or dismissed as nonexistent in situations such as this. Certainly Meghan and Harry can be seen as imperfect, with ulterior motives, but how does that negate the fact that in many of these situations racism played a part? Even if it is unconscious, can we widen our screens a little to see the larger context?
Certainly there were racist comments in the British press. I read about a few. And I agree we should all be aware of our white privilege. That’s a lesson taught to many of us in 2020. I know the whole BLM movement, and the reading I did subsequently, opened my eyes.
As an Irish Woman, I too have always had a fascination for The Royal Family and I admire The young Royals who try their best to be as normal as possible under difficult circumstances. I watched about 30mins of the 2nd viewing on Thursday and I was totally disgusted at H and M carry on. I switched the tv off and did a bit of ranting and raving with my partner(who is English). I have to admit that my heart goes out to Prince William and his beautiful wife, Catherine. I was full of admiration of the young Royals who attended The Annual Carol Service on Thursday evening. They held their heads up high, smiled and carried on! It has been A Blessing that Harry’s Grandmother wasn’t around to view the programme, thankfully she has been spared the hurt and sadness of what has been said about her Family. On a better note, Wishing Sue and all her followers A Very Happy Christmas from A Beautiful Sunny Orihuela Costa, Spain.
Thanks for weighing in, Lynne. And Happy Christmas to you too. From snowy Canada. 🙂
Sue, you are such a wonderful, mystic blogger. You always write right on topic. My paternal family was from England, immigranted to Canada and were true royalist. My Father, though he became an American citizen is probably rolling over in his grave over the antics of Harry and Meghan. My Grandmother taught me to curstey when I was very young, just in case I ever got to meet the Queen. I never forgt that, but I think what she was ultimately teaching me was good manners. Something Miss Meghan should have been taught!
You relatives might have crossed paths with mine, Heather. Heading in the opposite direction. My paternal ancestors immigrated from the UK in the 1700’s to New England and thence to Canada. Think they must have been Puritans. Maybe that’s why I love to wear black so much. Ha.
I was at our airport waiting for a treasured family member to fly in, so I was keeping an eye out in case I spotted your beautiful new green coat go dashing thru. 🙂 We were waiting for a later flight and we ended up driving in the snow storm. Fortunately, 2 snow plows magically appeared to clear our way, when we needed them most.
Your Mom’s sensible comment that something spoken cannot be unheard, is a wise lesson and a good reminder.
Looking forward to hearing what name you will give to your Christmas tree this year. 😀 Hope you & Hubby have an enjoyable Christmas – wishing you both good health, much laughter, delicious food and lots of books to read by the fire.
Ah…. sorry I missed you, Carolyn. My green coat was moving pretty quickly when I disembarked. Guess I was in a hurry to get home. 🙂
As always…..I enjoyed your post and the snowy photos are fabulous. I’m an Anglophile/Royalphile American. I believe all that H and M say happened to them but, like everyone else, don’t think that’s a reason to carry money to the bank and Sue….your mom’s words of wisdom are precious pearls! Happy Holidays.
Thanks, Jan. Happy holidays to you too.
This is a very timely post for me, Sue. There is family drama swirling around me right now that I would love to rant about, if only to get it off my chest, but feelings are raw and most of it is not my story to tell, so I restrain myself. I think Harry and Meghan would have been wise to do the same.
It’s just that words cannot be retrieved once spoken. I learned that way back.
Love your blog, Sue, but from this side of the pond, I have no problem with Harry and Meghan telling their story. Everyone else seems all too eager to do it for them. The hatred, especially for her, is off the charts, and the racism is plain to see. One merely has to open a newspaper, tabloid, or comment section to be consumed by it. Are they burning bridges? Probably, but if so, they won’t be the first family members in the world to shed light on shameful or intractable issues. Carrying family trauma quietly is not always the best solution. They are public figures. Telling their story was bound to be public. Although I am no royalist – Diana’s treatment and traumatic death ended it for me – I watched the series and appreciated the bigger picture. I know they’ll suffer the consequences for it, but this idea of the royal family, or “the firm” as it is often referred to, as some quaint, injured party is absurd. It is a very public, practically corporate entity, with dueling PR departments, huge staffs, lengthy bylaws, fat bank accounts, and plenty of unsavory behavior. Just because they haven’t been able to successfully “contain” Harry and Meghan (I wonder what Andrew is doing these days), doesn’t mean they are victims here. I wish Harry and Meghan well, and though they’ll find that the truth doesn’t make much of a dent these days, I understand their inclination to try and tell it. Welp, that concludes my TED rant for today. Otherwise, as I mentioned earlier and for what it’s worth, I do love your blog.
Thanks, Wendy. I respect your opinion. Well said. I agree that trauma should not be suffered in silence. I was trying to figure out how to add that qualifier to my post without belabouring the issue and gave up around midnight. I don’t see the other royals as victims… just that Harry’s not the only one in his family to suffer his particular trauma. But we could go back and forth on that one ad nauseam. Of course aside from the family stuff, there is the serious issue of the tabloid media. Makes me wonder at our society and our worship of celebrity on both sides of the pond. Sigh.
I think the problem here is that so much of what Harry and Meghan say is just not true and has been proven to be made up or at the very best massively exaggerated. the press is intrusive of course and will look for any angle but unfortunately that is the price that royals, and celebrities, pay for their massive privilege. compared to most of the women in the royal family Meghan has had a very easy ride. its easy to forget the horrendous time that not only Diana, but Kate and even Anne and the Queen had. they understood though that its hard to listen to some of the most privileged people on earth whine about how hard their lives are and just got on with it. Diana played the press to suit her agenda as has Meghan. this backfired for both of them unfortunately.
I think most of us have some family drama. I know I do with my sisters but I try to keep it in perspective. I certainly don’t share anything with anyone else, excepting my hubby.
I won’t be watching the H &M series.I am rather disgusted by their attack on family. *see above comment I’m sure Meghan found it very difficult to assimilate into the Royal way of life. Most of us would! I’m sure she faced some racism too. But, don’t you think she pulls that card out too often. They left the Royal family and moved to the states. I applaud them for doing what is right for their happiness. They have two beautiful children and obviously love each other. They live a luxurious life. So, why all the sad 😢 interviews? Why slander Harry’s family? Enough, already! Instead of garnering sympathy, they are sounding like whiners. I’m very disappointed in Harry!
I don’t question their right to tell their story. But one can clearly see the manipulation in that program. That alone made me a bit swear-y when I watched it.
Thanks for ranting for me! Your point about all families being complicated and that we all have trauma is well taken. Does he think his brother hasn’t experienced trauma too?I think Harry will live to regret parading his family business around for all the world to see. It’s hard enough to take back words that are said, harder to remove hurtful things put out on screen.
I tend to be quite mercurial.. a true Gemini… and I learned to my own peril when I was young the consequences of expressing emotion that quickly dissipates. It’s a hollow victory when we garner sympathy that we do not deserve. I guess only a true narcissist believes his or her own “fake news.”
I’m really quite shocked at the dismissal (or at least downplay) of the racism that Meagan Markle has experienced. From the very first “straight out of Compton” headline (spoiler: she’s not from Compton) to Jeremy Clarkson’s rant this week in the Sun (if he used that language about Catherine Buckingham Palace certainly would have spoken up) it’s been a constant drip-drip of negativity and coded language. Those of us who aren’t BIPOC cannot imagine the psychic wear-and-tear these microaggressions, and aggressions cause.
I agree that those of us who enjoy white privilege cannot imagine how it feels to be so slighted and insulted. But I did read that several of the examples including the “ straight outta Compton” one were made by American publications. Not that that makes a difference to the deplorable content.
Just double-checked, and “Straight Out of Compton” was published by MailOnline, which is the website of the British tabloid Daily Mail.
That’s good to know. Clearly my source was wrong. I actually had to look up what the comment meant when I first saw it.
I’ll take the contrary view to most of the other comments. While I haven’t watched the last two episodes and may feel differently afterwards, everyone, royal or not, when they’ve been attacked, has the right to defend themself. We all know how poorly Diana was treated by “the firm” and the British tabloids so why wouldn’t we believe they did the same to Meghan? She was a breath of fresh air until the tabloids decided she wasn’t.
I agree they do have the right to say whatever they choose to defend themselves. I just wish the content had been less emotion driven and more a legitimate analysis of their situation,
I think the papers, not only tabloids but legitimate papers too, called them out on their bad behaviour, as they have with other royals.. and as they should. the ‘documentary ‘ might have been interesting if there had been an attempt at balance but it was a PR exercise.
Interesting to read about your blended family. I am an only but there were certainly a few machinations in the wider family that were never talked about. Your mother’s advice about holding your tongue as you can’t take words back is very wise. My father always worked on the principle that if you can’t say anything good then say nothing at all.
I am British and a royalist and for people who say the Royal Family is an anachronism then how do they explain the numbers that turned up to pay their respects to the Queen upon her death. Or the numbers that tune in for royal weddings and the like.
To me Harry and Meghan act like spoiled children. They want to be away from the limelight and live private lives yet repeatedly put themselves front and centre in the spotlight. They can’t have it both ways. A comment attributed to Meghan after their trip to Australia sums up her attitude – she was amazed they weren’t being paid to do all the handshaking. Mighty Mammon seems to be her god. It is time for them to shut up and grow up.
I think that Meghan should have taken the Queen’s offer of Sophie to be her advisor. As an outsider herself Sophie might have helped smooth the transition in ways that Harry could not. As someone born to the life I imagine Harry takes many of the practises of royal life for granted.
Thank you for another thoughtful and well-written post, Sue. I like the way you introduced your own family dynamic as a preface to the comments on the present royal drama. Ditto for your mother’s wise advice. Once something is said, it cannot be unsaid. Unfortunately, the annoying, spoiled, and overly sensitive Harry and Meghan don’t seem to be considering the long-term effects of their decision to blab. I appreciate your analysis of the first installment; that will keep many of us from having to watch it. Have a lovely Christmas.
Thanks, Judith. Merry Christmas to you too.
I watched the H & M special and I could see clearly their point of view. The Mail Newspaper has been so cruel to M and the palace did nothing to protect her. No one should have to endure that. Having said that I now feel that enough is enough and hope that H &M get on with their lives and no more airing of the families dirty laundry . I felt by the end that they were beginning to get a annoying with all the complaining.
No, you’re right the press can be so hurtful. I don’t understand the almost gleeful attacks. What a hateful world we live in sometimes.
I watched Harry & Meghan’s wedding with great hopes that they would inject a new spirit into the royal family.
This was not to be.
I agree that there has been vicious media coverage of Meghan much of it racially inspired, but the problem is that valid criticisms get overlooked and dismissed as racism without further ado. (And I speak as someone who was married to a person of colour and became very aware of “micro transgressions” as well as major transgressions.)
From the outside it appears that forgiveness and understanding is all one way for Meghan and Harry – where is their compassion for Thomas Markle? Where is their forgiveness for other members of her family?
Much as I dislike the expression “lighten up” I think M & H should try to add humour and perspective to their armoury.
I have enjoyed reading the comments here expressing such a range of views.
Thanks Sue. And thanks for your perspective.
When I first read about Harry dating an actress named Meghan Markle, I thought, “Wow, she’s perfect for him!” He’d lamented earlier that the British press had scared away his previous girlfriends, but with Meghan I thought, who could better withstand the press than someone who worked in an industry where speaking to the press and being in the public eye was a requirement of the job?
There were indeed some racist comments made about Meghan early on – there are unfortunately racists in just about every society – but I remember most of the press as being quite laudatory of this ‘breath of fresh air’ who was going to change the face of the monarchy by representing the UK’s people of color. And of course, we were all happy to see Harry find the love that his brother had found in Catherine.
Sadly things went south very quickly. Just as Diana and Charles were badly mismatched, so it seems were Meghan and an institution that requires its members conform – the monarchy does change but does so very, very slowly. Had Meghan stuck around and stayed ‘inside’ I think she could have done much good, for the monarchy and the country. Instead, she (and Harry) seem to be quite impulsive people who want what they want when they want it. Your example of the 5 homes in 5 years is a good one; they seem to flit from project to project rather quickly, though the ‘airing of the grievances’ has gone on for quite some time – perhaps because there’s continued to be money in it.
Prince William was right when he advised Harry not to jump into the marriage, but perhaps Harry was also right to ignore that advice, as it is possible that with a longer courtship, Meghan would have decided that the cons of marrying into the British Royal Family outweighed the pros for her and ended the relationship. Perhaps she’s so angry now because the ‘fairy tale’ she thought she was marrying into didn’t materialize?
My mother and her brother became estranged – over some petty issue that I cannot recall – and I lost 8 cousins in the process. Then my parents divorced and I lost that side of the family, too (and my father). For that reason, I feel most sad for Harry and Meghan’s children, who are cut off from family on all sides. I married into a big family and am thrilled that my children have grown up among these people. We may have disagreements but ultimately egos are put in check, anger mellowed, and unkind words are forgiven as we all realize what a treasure family is. Sad to see this happen to the Royals.
I applaud them for following their path to happiness… which, royal or not, everyone has a right too. However, their choice (to feel the need) for public validation under the guise of disclosure to help others who, too, may have been misaligned, was hollow.
As I’ve gained the blessing of wisdom in these unfolding years, I try to live by the ‘everything you do does not need to be seen or heard’ and ‘a good deed is done with intention, not for attention’. If only they understood, it’s really not all about them. One can still live an honest, transparent life, controlling their story and reputation, without the obvious responding transgression against others, two wrongs don’t make a right.
*steps off soap box and pushes it back under couch*
Racism is real!
Harry and Meghan needed to have their say.
Thank you for your excellent blog, Sue. I am so disappointed in Harry and Megan. When she came into his life I saw the potential for the great social justice work that they could do together. Instead they chose to turn their lives – and those of the royal family members – into a soap opera, with truly tragic results. What’s said cannot be unsaid. I agree with Michelle’s comment about their need for public validation, and I believe that it could result in them becoming totally estranged from Harry’s family.
In a nutshell !
I would like to pose the question to those who think H&M are just whining or capitalizing on their notoriety…if thousands of people were telling YOUR story in books, blogs, articles and every media outlet, wouldn’t you feel the need to tell your OWN story in your own way at least once? And really…who are we to judge anyone’s life choices? The media spins stories about famous people for us to consume…maybe this documentary will at least make us stop to think: We really don’t know what goes on behind the scenes in anybody else’s life..so maybe we can be simply curious and empathetic without judgement?…Big sigh…
No one would disagree with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex telling their story. The issue, for me, is the amazing number of contradictions each time they do. For example, in the Oprah interview, she says there were several conversations about the color of her child’s skin. He says there was one conversation before they were married. Which is it? Then there is her NYT op-ed about her miscarriage. In it, she says was in her son’s room, getting him ready for the day. In the docu, she says she was greeting a friend outside her home when the pain came. Which is it? These are just two examples off the top of my head. There are more. Generally, when someone tells their truth, it is consistent. Stories and antidotes don’t morph and change dramatically from telling to telling. These contradictions aren’t misconstrued newspaper articles. They came directly out of their mouths. It makes me not inclined to believe anything they say, especially in a glitzy, curated cinematic offering detailing their perceived slights and disappointments without any consideration or time given to the other side of the story.
Your mother gave such good advice about being careful what you say about someone in anger and how that impacts another persons view which lingers after the anger has died away. So many people will find in the future their social media rants will come back to harm them and their children in the future and it will be those same people who also post the ‘be kind’ memes and lecture others on wellness and being authentic without any professional training. I feel so sorry for them.
This is a beautifully composed piece of writing, starting with the tasteful discussion of your family background, segueing into another family’s woes, and looping back to the peace of your snow covered home. The students to whom you taught writing were indeed fortunate.
Looking forward to hearing about your Christmas preparations – I recall some lovely menus in past years.
I think that I’ll avoid that docu-drama. We recently finished the last season of The Crown, which I didn’t enjoy much. I found it depressing. I like some of the earlier seasons.
Most of us learn the hard way to be careful about what we say. We have things that we would like to take back. We don’t get a redo once something is out of our mouths.
Welcome home. I hope that the shoveling is done, the laundry put away and that you and your husband are reading in front of a cozy fire.
Happy holidays and Happy New Year to you. I look forward to your posts in 2023.
I just wanted to stop back here to thank everyone for weighing in. I respect everyone’s opinion, even if it is contrary to my own. You guys are always great at writing really interesting comments. But sometimes we don’t agree. And that’s okay. Better than okay, actually. That’s why we call this part of the blog a conversation.
I won’t be answering the last few comments or any ensuing ones individually. I think it’s time I turned my attention elsewhere… to cleaning my house before putting up the Christmas tree… and doing the decorating… and and and. And trying to keep Christmas preparations slow and intentional. Ha. Let’s see how I get on with that. 🙂
Maybe it’s an American thing. Maybe it’s not a Canadian or British thing. When Racism and Mental Well Being is discussed we take it more seriously and believe the victims. Isn’t it strange that former “lady-in-waiting” apologized for transgression against a stranger recently but members of family cannot or will not apologize or accept they have seriously hurt a member of their own family. Isn’t it strange how many of your readers attacked the black woman. I wasn’t going to comment but then I read about Jeffery Clarkson’s opinion piece. How do your readers “feel” about his disgraceful article published by the Murdoch’s?
I only read about Clarkson’s column… just now in fact… I did not read the actual column. And the couple of quotes I read were, as you say, disgraceful. Reprehensible. I can’t imagine how it was published in the first place. Or, truly, how anyone can feel that deeply about the issue, feel that much hatred for someone they, presumably, don’t even know. As for Canadians and Brits not taking racism or mental health issues seriously… well… respectfully… that is a huge generalization. I don’t think America has a better track record than Canada or Britain on race issues in particular. We all have a long way to go. Not sure you know this but many of my readers, including some who have commented on this post are American, as I presume you are from your comment. Comments from all sides of an issue are welcome here, but I think that we should just put this debate to bed now.
I don’t think the debate on racism is something that should every be “put to bed.” I live in Minneapolis and the murder of George Floyd was a real, heartbreaking example of racism. The protesting that followed may not be pleasant, but it opened up the eyes of the world. We need to keep these discussions open no matter how uncomfortable we may feel, it’s the only way we can truly change things.
I totally agree, Renee. I think you misunderstood me. I just meant to “put to bed” the going in circles here on the blog with respect to the Harry and Megan thing. Certainly not the debate about racism in general nor in particular with respect to the horrific death of George Floyd. Nor to the need for societies in all of our countries to wake up about white privilege and the terrible acts resulting from racism.
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