Some readers here were so upset at my post about watching the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan, and my expressed sympathy for the couple, my believing their experience as they related it, that they wrote me "how could you" and "I'm so disappointed in you" messages, and summarily took themselves away from being in community here. I accept that. Because by my lights, Harry and Meghan have every right to tell their story in their way, to speak the truth as they see it, regardless of what the British tabloid media might have to say about them, indeed especially because of what the British tabloids have already said about them, chewing them up mercilessly in sacrifice to more senior members of the royal family—Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, if you want to name names, and their faceless courtiers. Why should Harry and Meghan remain silent in the face of lies told about them? Of the ugliest, most violent racist and sexists tropes arrayed against them by bitter old men whom Camilla invites to her Queen Consort luncheons and teas?
All that to say, I am now reading Prince Harry's new book Spare, which he wrote with a very fine collaborator, J.R. Moehringer, who also penned Andre Agassi's critically acclaimed memoir Open. (J.R. Moehringer's name isn't on the cover of either book, which is why I'm naming him here, because I know he talked deeply with Harry through weeks and months, perhaps even years of interviews, and labored with him over each carefully chosen word.) I'm still only a few chapters into Spare, but I find the book to be exceptionally well written and emotionally revealing. Harry is not trying to hide. He only wants to tell the tale from where he stood, with as much self examination as he can muster. And once again, I believe him. This is how it was, and is for him, as he and his biracial wife continue to be demonized, with the British press putting out a statement yesterday—gleaned as always from a mysterious palace "source"—that the royal family cannot reconcile with Harry as long as he remains "kidnapped by the cult of psychotherapy and Meghan."
And there it is. Your Black wife or the family firm, buddy boy. I applaud Harry for choosing his wife and children. As far as I'm concerned, don't come for this broken kid with the royally ostracized mother hounded to her death by paparazzi, this young man who so painstakingly put himself back together, who ultimately found and chose love, despite its obvious inconveniences, and who is now daring to push back against lifelong conditioning that says he should bear his trauma in stoic silence, to tell his side of the story.
I watched some of the documentary and was impressed with how thoughtful and articulate both Harry and Meghan were. They've both obviously seen counselors and looked at themselves in the mirror. I also know that what one person in a family experiences can be so different from what another person experiences. He has the right to tell his story, just as we all do.ReplyDelete
What shocked me, I think the most, was the idea that the monarchy comes first, always. The family calls it the firm and all decisions that are made, are for the benefit of the monarchy. That's quite fucked up. They're a family, not a firm.
Anyway, I'm glad that they have each other, although it must be so painful to have that rift with his family, and he has a very large family. Perhaps now people will leave them in peace to raise their family.
I think Harry is in touch with some members of his extended family, just not the senior royals, who I think, through their courtiers, allowed him and his wife to be fed to the wolves. Family rifts are always so painful. I fear this one, being so public and high stakes, may not be healed.Delete
I missed all that. I absolutely believe them.ReplyDelete
Sandra, same here.Delete
Well said. And thank you for having the courage to speak the truth of what is being revealed. Harry is the brave one in that family--the one who sought healing because he knew it was the path to take to well-being. Pain is always a part of healing. Healing takes courage.ReplyDelete
Harry has a loving wife to help him, to stand by him, and have his back when those who are supposed to love him don't. I admire them both. I believe he is doing the right thing by speaking out against the systematic dysfunction that seems to be a part and parcel of the outdated establishment called the monarchy.
I remember the photo of Harry in the Nazi uniform for Halloween. I saw it as the costume and nothing more. The Nazis were monsters. Would it have made a difference had he gone disguised as Frankenstein? Harry was born with a target on his back. Growing up in the public eye is a horrible way to have to live. There are no rule books.
The fool who wishes to see Meghan in a recreated scene from a brutal show says more about him than her. Why aren't people outraged by what HE said? Oh. Misogynists get a free pass, while Meghan and Harry seem to be living their lives as freely as society allows. They have harmed no one.
I never buy celebrity memoirs or tell-all chatter but will make an exception this time. I am willing to support Harry's effort to push back against an establishment bent on silencing and possibly destroying him, just as it destroyed his mother. Harry and Meghan are perfect examples of how to live purposeful lives and not succumb to bullying. They are being bullied by the monarchy. We must all stand against it. Children kill themselves because of it. The statistics are frightening, but social media companies that target our youngest are finally being sued. About time. The toxicity that is bullying has become so pervasive. It is a sad reflection of who we are. Children who bully grow up to become adults. Adults bully too.
There! I've over-used the "b" word in order to diminish its power. Our society is has countless everyday Harrys and Meghans. I feel sorry for William. He should be as lucky as Harry.
Anonymous, I'm so struck by the compassion in your comment about William. You're so right of course. He's really stuck, isn't he? I feel sorry for him, too. What must it be like to see your brother free to leave and live his life as he sees fit, when you have no such escape hatch. Thank you so much for your comment here. I wish I knew your name. In any case, if this is your first time here, welcome!Delete
Amen! I cannot believe the vitriol that I read in some British bloggers' posts. They obviously are deeply entrenched in the idea that the royal family is the royal family and should do nothing to upset the apple cart. Or the Firm. I have been thinking about this a lot and it seems to me that Americans may be far more sympathetic to a man who has chosen not to follow the path set before him by an arcane system that tries to control every facet of his life from his religion to his choice of wife. And every single one of them flatly denies that racism has anything at all to do with this.ReplyDelete
I agree with everything you said. Thank you for saying it.
Mary, it's the vitriol that gets me. Why?? These people are just trying to exist with as much love and grace as possible. At least that's how I see it. The whole thing is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, really. And yes, racism definitely upped the ante.Delete
British press is vile. Perhaps because it is all stiff upper lip , "mustn't grumble" sort of society, the venom comes out in rags , the British press. The imbalance is deadly. You were correct initially saying that Meghan and harry saved each other, indeed they have. Had it not been for Meghan with her fresh eyes into the controlling dysfunction that is royal Britain, we could have lost harry also. I just watched Colbert with harry and tequila - so lovely and refreshing and true. I will buy Harry's book- honest, revealing, and , maybe, if the firm are paying attention,ReplyDelete
life changing. Thank you MEGHAN- just for being there at the right time and saying "yes"...and then saying "NOPE"!
"royals" no longer relevant, reamed and hollow decorations on a sinking ship.
Linda Sue, I do believe that still, that they saved each other. Maybe Diana sent Meghan as her emissary, just half kidding.Delete
I confess to not following the Harry and Meghan story. People follow their hearts and fall in love. All the vitriol is racist BS and narrow-minded ancient history of us vs. them. I was delighted when Harry married Meghan. I'm hoping someday that love truly wins in all ways.ReplyDelete
Robin, I'm with you, hoping that love wins, and yes, in ALL ways. Maybe even allowing reconciliation and understanding on all sides. That would be fine indeed.Delete
We're watching The Windsors on Netflix at present. I know it's fiction, but when Phillip complained bitterly to Elizabeth about all of the "moustaches" being condescending to him and telling him what to wear, I could just see how the staff runs the monarchy. Bless Harry's little head for getting out of the monarchy with his head held high. The remainers should be ashamed of themselves.ReplyDelete
Allison, from what I can see from where I stand outside it all, it's the remainers and the tabloids in cahoots that is the real poison. The royal family, yes even the beloved late Queen, bears some responsibility for allowing themselves to be so soullessly led by these behind the scenes "mustaches" who are undoubtedly in it for themselves.Delete
That should have been "The Crown" and not The Windsors. Covid brain!Delete
I, too, am reading Spare (actually listening to Harry narrate it on audio) and believe him 100%. #TeamHarry all the way. It's a compelling, well-written read -- utterly heartbreaking. It didn't have to be this way. When he said in the Netflix documentary that (I'm paraphrasing here) that the Royal Family missed the opportunity of a lifetime with Meghan, he was so right. I'd like to think there may be a path towards reconciliation or at least mutual understanding someday, but should that not happen, I feel William will truly regret not making peace with Harry. And how sad that others have left the loving community you have created here, Rosemarie, over this. I'm so sorry.ReplyDelete
Melissa, the book is very well written, isn't it. I am studying the collaborative writer's choices of scene, pacing, language closely. I think he has does Harry a great service in capturing his story for posterity. And yes, I too think the royal family missed an incredible opportunity with Meghan. So much of the British commonwealth is made up of countries of color, and Meghan would have been a stellar ambassador in that regard, a symbol of the family valuing the people of these nations. Instead, they disrespected and vilified her, for her race more than as anything else, and as someone who originally hails from one of those nations, I can tell you, the citizens of those countries took the Brits' treatment of Meghan very personally.Delete
I think that Harry's story is true from his viewpoint. And I agree that the press, especially the British press, is pretty well known to be sensational and have only a nodding aquaintance with the truth. But.ReplyDelete
I have been a monarchist (I guess that has to be the word) Canadian all my life. And to be that, it is necessary to see the monarch and the structure of the constitutional monarchy as something apart from the people who happen to inhabit it. The structure requires that - it does not matter who is king or queen as long as there is one. Having said that, whoever IS the monarch has to see herself as a pole in the firmament, so to speak. And the Queen did. Just look at her life and the few things she said about it. Unfortunately around the monarch is a hive of people for whom the status is incredibly important. Their status and the status of all the royal family. That, in my opinion, is what poisoned and finally cause the death of the poor Princess of Wales. That is what has also poisoned, as far as I can see, the relationship between Harry and his brother. Because William is in for it. Some day he will have to carry that load. So, as far as I can understand, he also has to believe in the rightness of the position. Or he would go nuts. Maybe the only happy monarch is a totally stupid one like George V.
I have put a lot of time and research into trying to understand what our system is and why it works. I fear greatly that Harry is going to break it. It is understandable. It may even be a commendable effort to justify his and his wife's decisions. But the fallout will be far, far more toxic than I want to imagine.
I am sorry that you have had bad feelings from commenters. Please understand that I am not trying to be against anything that you have said or feel, and I do not condone one poisonous whisper about Megan and race. I grew up in a mixed race community and I hated and tried to stop some of the nasty things that happened. And I am not a Canadian black, so I missed a lot. But I am frightened for what will happen to Canada if we lose the monarchy - even if it is that dope, Charles, at present who is the centrepiece.
Mary, I appreciate your sharing your thoughts in such a civil way here, because of course, we all don't have to agree on everything. I don't think the monarchy is going anywhere, actually, even as Prince Harry says his piece. But I am curious, because I don't understand the implications, why would the loss of the monarchy be bad for Canada? How would it be affected? I fully agree with you that it is the people around the royals who bear the brunt of the responsibility for this mess, and it saddens me that the royals are in such an echo chamber that they seem to simply go along with the recommendations of their handlers/advisers. I am, of course, looking at it all from far outside, so what do I truly know other than that Harry wrote his story, and when the history of this era is written decades, or even centuries from now, his own words will inform the story that is told about him. That's something at least. Please know how much I value you being in community here. I always welcome your insights.Delete
Thank you! I do my best to be reasoned and reasonable ... you probably know the trope about Canadians and saying 'Sorry'. A out the monarchy ... hard to make a short enough summary. Our system of government and our body of law are both inherited from the British system. We would have to remake everything from our Parliament to our towns' street regulations if we took out the monarch. Long post on my blog a out this as an answer to a similar question. Sorry for the length of this.Delete
I really enjoy your viewpoints on life and your work and family. Thank you for sharing.
This is not an issue that I feel very strongly about, so it's hard for me to imagine why people would leave you angry or hateful comments. I have no intention of reading Harry's book or watching his TV shows because, honestly, I just don't care. But as I have said on other blogs, I'm puzzled about his purpose in writing this book and doing all this publicity. He married the woman he loves, he left active duty in the royal family, he has found a new life with Meghan in another country with a less toxic media culture. (US mainstream media is definitely not as toxic as British media.) He seems to have what he wants. Why drag everyone else through the mud? What's the point?ReplyDelete
As an addendum to my previous comment: I was just talking to some co-workers about my perplexity over this issue. They see Harry's primary objective as smashing the institutional racism in the royal family. I can certainly see THAT as a worthwhile goal, though I'm still not certain he's going about it the best way. Also, they said he wants the royal family to give a more significant role to the "spares," rather than investing the "heirs" with all the meaningful duties and resources, which also seems reasonable. I suppose I shouldn't talk more about this until I read the book!ReplyDelete
Steve, as one who (maybe ironically) watches every historical drama about the British monarchy going, I think the real value of Harry telling his own story is that when the history is written of this era of the British monarchy decades or centuries from now (because I do think the monarchy will endure, as indeed it already has through any number of crises through centuries of history), then the story told about Harry will include his own words, and will not be left to what was written in the tabloids. That said, it's actually a really good book, which you wouldn't be able to tell from the sensationalized snippets being bandied about (again, the press!) and it is certainly a valuable historical document. Kudos to him for writing the book, I say, and for choosing a really top notch ghostwriter to work with!Delete
Coming from a family where there has been a pattern of profound estrangement among family members for generations, I relate to Harry's hope for reconciliation and know that it is not easy to speak one's truth to a family that has been entrenched for generations in keeping things the way they have always been, no matter what the cost. The reconciliation and changes hoped for may not occur in the lifetimes of Harry and William but may occur in later generations as a result of Harry speaking his truth. That is my hope for my family. Speaking my truth was met with being ostracized by all but the mother of my grandnephew. She knows a truth that had been hidden for generations, a truth can bring healing to future generations. I hadn't planned to read the book but you've convinced me of the importance of putting it on hold at our public library and reading it. There are 291 holds on 19 copies of the book and 48 holds on 2 copies of the audiobook. I want to hear Harry's voice speaking his truth and freeing himself and Meghan and their children from a system that would have limited their lives.ReplyDelete
am, the estrangement in my husband's family gave me some painful insight into what Harry and Meghan are dealing with, except their situation plays out on a global scale. I am so sorry you are dealing with ostracism within your own family, just for trying to speak the truth. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book when you read it. The reviews are mostly positive, although even those have snarky bits, I supposed so that the reviewers can show they are impartial and cannot be accused of gushing. Some reviews, as you can imagine, are outright hit jobs. Best to read and decide for yourself how our young prince acquitted himself.Delete
I have not read the book and probably do not have all the facts. That said, this family has history and baggage that supersedes most. The dysfunction is sad.ReplyDelete
Susan, the dysfunction is generations deep for sure. I heard someone say that Harry, with Meghan's help, is breaking generational curses.Delete
Just started it; am also enjoying it. I love his wording that these are his memories of events; he makes no verbatim claims, for example. I especially loved the short description of Earendel and that being his mom. I think maybe some of us of a certain age remember these events so vividly; I will never forget the outrage over the Queen's apathy and supposed shock that Diana was so well loved. And to Steve's point above that why did Harry feel the need to write this book: why the hell shouldn't he? We should all get to tell our own stories, no matter how small or how big they are. This odd insistence that Harry, and Meghan, should know their place is beyond me.ReplyDelete
Elle, I read something yesterday that said if Harry and Meghan would just stay silent, all the tabloid ugliness would go away. Well, Meghan's mom Doria stays almost completely silent, and yet she is now at the center of the most vile tabloid garbage about her being a drug dealer and in jail while Meghan was growing up. That gentle, gracious woman! You can't make this stuff up. Or I guess you can! It's all designed just to hurt the Sussexes, and it makes me so glad that they have not gone away silently and let all the lies about them stand unchallenged. And yes, I do think we all have the right to tell our stories, large or small, though of course not all of us see the need.Delete
Wow. Late to the party here I guess. First of all I can't believe you received such blow back and lost readers over your support of Harry and Meghan. Well, yes I do believe it. Personally, I don't understand the American fascination with the British royalty. They never enter my consciousness and I haven't read the first book, nor watched the series, nor will I read this one. I'm glad Harry has the fortitude to stand up for himself and his wife and their lives and remove themselves from a toxic environment but I'm glad for and support every person in that situation to put themselves and their physical and mental health first. Lots of toxic dysfunctional families out there. Though I imagine having it all happen in public and the constant barragement of the press makes things infinitely more difficult.ReplyDelete
Oh how I agree with you, but not at all Surprised at the backlash anyone supportive of this Young Couple are going to get. I've watched Interviews, they have been brave enough to speak their Truth and let each of us discern their character, rather than believing Tabloids and a Monarchy structure designed to condition those that belong to it and make their lives not their own for all of their life. If he has found happiness with his Beloved and they want to raise their Children like normal people, as much as they are able, I Wish them only Happiness even if their Family never reconciles and shuns them. To walk away from everything and everyone he knew was something that took a lot of strength, I admire his courage, he knew it wouldn't be met with compassion or understanding by everyone. Having an Interracial Intercultural Family is still not easy. My Parents weathered it and had to be stronger than those who had bias and prejudices. The Man weathered it when his Family were not as accepting of the 'differences'. My Grandson and Husband are weathering it as a part of the LGBTQ Community. Society sometimes vilifies those they feel some kind of way about, for whatever reason, and cannot just live and let live. Perhaps one day Society will evolve away from that, but sadly, it won't be in my Lifetime. I've got to get Harry's Book, thanks for the critique, I know you Write and assist Writers, so I value your input.ReplyDelete
I've never been even slightly interested in any of them but recently watched The Crown, the Meghan and Harry documentary and plan on reading Harry's book. I'm not sure why this is -- my late attention to it all, but it's fascinating from a kind of observational standpoint. I wonder what your detractors thought about the lovely Henry VIII and all his dead wives?ReplyDelete