I wrote this piece earlier when the book was first published but I figured I could re-publish it here.
Prince Harry's interviews for his upcoming book, SPARE, have brought mental health issues back to the forefront of public debate. This follows the Netflix series Harry and Meghan, which sparked outrage in some quarters. As I looked through the comments on different social media platforms, it became clear just how hypocritical people can be. The energy for such vile and hateful comments is beyond belief. It's so easy to be put in a box by others, to have a ceiling over your life and what you're supposed to be or do, that it becomes controversial when you decide to stand up for yourself. Since that young man decided to marry Meghan Markle, it has become a mountain of hate and insults from faceless Internet trolls, the British press, and every other person who thinks Harry is self-centered for wanting something different. Meghan's race was an affront to the purest of white monarchies, a lineage so pure that Harry dared to taint it by marrying a divorced, black woman (double red flags), and then it became that she wasn't black enough. Backlash here and there. You hear too many versions of whatever happens at Buckingham Palace, constantly in your face, no one knows the truth 100 percent. How is that not a reason to want to hear from the horse's mouth?
Then I am asking, "What is the issue with someone wanting to tell their own story?" Why can the rest of us speak our own truth but not Prince Harry? Isn't that a case of double standards? For a man who spent most of his life growing up without his mother and had to contend with his father's "alleged" mistress, someone the late Princess Diana called the third party in their marriage, I cannot understand why people have no empathy toward him. It is laughable that the same people who are online trolling Prince Harry for speaking out his honest feelings about Camilla cannot stand their father having a side-chic outside, a concubine, or even cope with polygamy because they see how it impacts their mother and alters family life, particularly for children, but well, they are online preaching to Prince Harry.
People will speak of abolishing the monarchy in one breath, then condemn Prince Harry for wanting out of that life. The rest of us can only imagine what he has been through and wish him well as he regains control of his mental health. No matter how many opinions we hold and how much we think we know, we are still outsiders. The psychological trauma of his mother's death, and the anxiety of constantly being judged as a royal even in the most private aspects of his life, such as a relationship, are not things that most of us will understand. People are more concerned about his privileged background than his wholeness as a person. Imagine being that young, walking behind your mother's casket while dealing with grief and carrying that baggage as an adult.
The world is crazy right now, and we are constantly dealing with issues of mental health. The pandemic has humans seeking peace and meaning in the most basic things. There have been more books written about mental health, speaking our truth, and being honest about our trauma so we can begin our journey toward healing and genuine happiness. This includes issues like the dangers of toxic masculinity, in which men are conditioned to maintain the manly nature of always being strong, never crying, and never being vulnerable like women.
Why is Harry not allowed to find his own path to healing? There are many sides to a single story, especially family stories like these. Harry had found the courage to speak for himself, and perhaps, we should all welcome other royals speaking up for themselves instead of having a mouthpiece. They are humans like the rest of us. The idea that royals should behave a certain way (which means rebels are easily spotted) and then too many things are kept secret only creates more animosity and gives the public so much freedom to twist information and amplify narratives, which has a ripple effect on destroying the fabric that should hold families together. In this age and time, you have to own your story, and champion your own narrative; otherwise, you give ordinary people so much power to ruin your life.
I look forward to reading Prince Harry's book and hearing what he has to say. He has a lot to learn about life on the other side, seeing the monarchy through our eyes and reflecting on racism from a different angle—and he has a lot to reflect on. That takes a lot of courage, but as he mentioned to Anderson Cooper, he is happier and has found peace. If mental health is good for anyone else, then it is good for Prince Harry. In the end, choosing to break a norm at any level is not an easy feat, and for Prince Harry, taking up a fight against an institution that has lasted for centuries is even more difficult.
For those who say, "He is making money off his story," I would like to ask what they would have done if they were in his shoes. What is wrong if his story is good enough to make him money? People like to call the next person greedy until they are in the same situation and would do the same without blinking. People acting as if wanting money is a bad thing is always funny to me. He has bills to pay, and a family to care for. Instead of handing over his story to some tabloids, he has every right to tell it. Wouldn't you do the same?