Image from cleveland.com.
Arguably there is no family on Earth that captivates the public as much as the British royal family, the Windsors. Yet, the royals typically avoid the paparazzi and are well-trained not to give out personal information. In a way, they are the inverse of the Kardashian-Jenner family. Both are prolific families, but one is shrouded in mystery. However, as time goes on, the royal family has become more transparent. One major reason is Prince Harry, the second child of Princess Diana and King Charles III. Throughout all their interviews, Prince Harry and Megan Markle claim they came to America to get privacy from the British media. However, if this is the case, why do they always seem to be doing interviews, documentaries, and book releases if privacy is what they crave? Most recently, Prince Harry wrote a book, Spare, an autobiography that gives personal accounts of his experiences with the Royal Family. With the amount of embarrassing personal details in the book, one has to wonder whether these glimpses into the royal family are for better or for worse.
The first influence in Harry’s life as a young boy was his mother, Princess Diana, both in her death, the way the media portrayed her, and how other royals treated her. The media often criticized Princess Diana for not following royal protocol. Even before she became a royal officially, the paparazzi would follow her around while she worked as a kindergarten school teacher in London. Perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of Diana’s life was her mental health and eating disorders. She suffered from bulimia, an eating disorder that was further exacerbated by her then-husband Prince Charles and the media calling her “chubby.” Diana’s life tragically came to an end after a car accident in France, when the driver of the car lost control due to the paparazzi chasing after her. This had a profound effect on twelve-year-old Harry: in his book, he describes that his father, King Charles III, made him sit down but neither of them cried. Moreover, he writes that he didn’t accept that his mother was actually dead. His mother’s death led Prince Harry to always be skeptical about the paparazzi as well as the other Royals.
This becomes important because when he married his wife, Megan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, she often dealt with situations similar to Diana. Megan Markle was often portrayed as the villain in the media with headlines such as, “Meghan Markle’s ‘Tatty’ Clothes: Fashion Expert Weighs in on Duchess’s Wardrobe Choices.” Due to all this negative media attention, Megan Markle claims she started feeling suicidal and that the Royal family made her state of mind worse. For example, in the memoir, Harry explains how Kate Middleton, his sister-in-law, made Megan Markle cry before their wedding because of an argument over bridesmaid dresses.
Empathizing with Megan about her mental health struggles is important and it’s great that more celebrities are open about their struggles. However, villainizing Kate Middleton and sharing family spats with the entire world isn’t productive either. Prince Harry should be less revealing about the personal issues within the royal family because, at the end of the day, they are a family that has been thrust into the spotlight. In an interview with Oprah, Megan, and Harry claim that one of the members asked ‘what color their baby would be,’ since Megan Markle is biracial. Shedding light on the racism or the exploitive ways the royal family behaves is necessary so the system can improve. However, it’s not responsible or productive to share every single argument he has had with his family, especially since the family already has very little privacy. His autobiography counters the entire point of him leaving the royal family because he is getting rid of every bit of privacy he had.
Two huge things were revealed in his novel against his brother and sister-in-law: he claims Prince William physically attacked him and that both encouraged him to wear a Nazi outfit. The accusations he made against his brother, Prince William are absolutely ridiculous. First, with the physical attack, Prince Harry does mention that Prince Willaim apologized and this sort of spat is normal for siblings. The second accusation that Kate Middleton and Prince William encouraged him to wear a Nazi outfit is just an example of shifting the blame. It is horrible that they encouraged him; however, Prince Harry was twenty at the time and he should have known better than to wear a Nazi costume. When Prince Harry describes these experiences he paints himself as a victim, when really he is at fault for his own actions. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if they encouraged him, because Prince William and Kate Midleton weren’t the ones wearing a Nazi costume, it was Prince Harry.
These things gave us insight into the royal family, especially the flaws in their system. But at what point is it too much? For me, too much is when the book becomes personal and too one-sided. For example, Harry often runs off on tangents about how he had to use the same cream his mother used on his lips on his frostbitten “todger.” It’s not the only time Prince Harry brought up his privates: in fact, it’s been brought up more than fifteen times. At that point, the only question is, why? If he truly wants privacy, why bring up the most private moments of his life including the moment he heard his mother died or losing his virginity, or his “kill count” in Afghanistan? It’s great that there is more transparency in the royal family but the public doesn’t need to know all of this information.
Shazia Shameerullah is a junior at Washington High School. She has lived in Fremont since elementary school. This is her first year at the Hatchet. Her favorite subjects at school include social studies and English. She enjoys being with friends, traveling, cooking, reading, and watching sitcoms. She is interested in reporting on politics, historical events, and local news. Later in life, Shazia hopes to pursue a career in law and to travel to new places.