The Ongoing Topic of Harry & Meghan and Why it Seems to Matter So Much
I must be mad – what good is going to come of talking about Harry and Meghan? What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Shouldn’t we just mind our own business? I wrestled with penning this piece. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m just adding to the noise or engaging in pointless gossip. However, when I started this blog I wanted to focus on all the little things we don’t bother talking about, and
also the things happening in the wider world that seem to affect us on a micro level. And this seems like one of those things.
While none of us here are aristocratic (if there is a royal out there reading this blog though - welcome!), I’ve certainly overheard A LOT of people having opinions about this situation. So I was interested to explore what that means about us. Not so much the right and wrong of things - more a look at why it matters to us so much.
And I think this situation matters to so many people (not just Brits, but also Americans, people from Commonwealth countries and anyone else who seems to have views on the aristocracy) maybe because it calls into question our primal instincts.
In Yuval Noah Harari’s bestseller, Homo Sapiens he explained how humans work better in large groups. But to organise and protect the group we implement systems. We may not always like the system but we sacrifice because the boundaries and structure promote overall harmony. It’s more complex when it comes to religion and monarchies, but in the case of the Roman Empire, it was made up of a series of hereditary hierarchies that spread across Europe and commanded allegiance based on the divine right to rule. It was a pretty compelling reason for any God-fearing subject to offer loyalty, even if it meant a bit of suffering.
Fast forward hundreds of years to the constitutional monarchy we have today, and its transformation into a service-based institution, and the question of whether the royal family have God on their side or not seems irrelevant. The fact is Queen Elizabeth II, forwent personal desire to fulfil a sacred duty. She became an entity, not just a person. And the sacrifice that required must have been monumental. We didn’t have to question it. It was taken care of. So to fly in the face of that, as many feel Harry and Meghan have done, strikes at the heart of our acceptance of roles and generations of ingrained fealty that is part of our identity.
So what I think, for those of us that are vested in this situation, is that we might be grappling with the idea of collective good versus individual rights; Monarchy versus Royal Family; Public versus private. And the uncomfortable notion that boundaries might need shifting if roles in the system are untenable.
Of course, there remains the angle that this all came about because there is both a commoner and a foreigner on the scene. Look how that turned last time with the Queen’s uncle and Wallis Simpson. If it weren’t for that the Queen wouldn’t be facing any of this at all. She wouldn’t have been Queen. But it’s far too easy to lay blame. For whatever you think of Meghan, none of this could have occurred if there had not already been some discontent from within regarding the pressure that this system places on individuals. After all, in an increasingly connected world, it must be incredibly frustrating to have to work within the confines of a rigid institution and not be able to effect the changes you want to help the modern world as it is now.
We will never know the discussions that took place, but it feels as if Harry has said, “This doesn’t work. I was born into this but I don’t want to play the part given me. It is noble of you to have done so but times have changed and I can be more effective with a scope outside of royal duties, while also having the private life I so desire. The one that my mother was not afforded. The sacrifice is too great.”
As far as Meghan goes, one can only guess that she may not fully understand and appreciate that the Royal Family is both a personal family and a business. And that sometimes you are dealing with one or the other or both at the same time. And that the people in it may not always want to be there either, but the system has required it of them. Till now.
So, what would you do? Break ranks and fulfil your hopes at the risk of hurting your family and the fabric of society or endure a limited life where ceremony takes precedence over the personal? Sacred duty, harmony, leadership and loyalty or independence, transformation, disruption and insecurity?