In his new book Prince Harry reveals wounds that have never healed, or should that be ‘revels’?

I am lucky because my mother is still alive and, at time of writing, healthy and happy. If your Mum is like mine, then you too are lucky.

I have yet to lose a parent but I have known and been friends with many people who have, including my partner.

When a person loses a parent, I have witnessed a change in them. Sometimes the change is dramatic, sometimes mild, but it always happens, such is the life-changing momentousness of the event. I have seen first hand what happens when someone loses their parent at an early age. The shock and grief subside over time but the ongoing devastation is harder to quantify.

The ‘six stages of grief’ take years, sometimes decades to work through. The space in your affections that person once held will likely never be filled. The disappointment, the unfairness (why them? why you?) and the resentment that most people your age still have both their parents doesn’t ever go away. To lose a parent is a life-changing event most of us work through in private, with people we trust to provide support.

So spare a thought then, for the boy whose mother died in such tragic circumstances and was forced to show no public grief, with the emotional support many take for granted, absent or lacking.

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I have not read Prince Harry’s book, and neither will I, as I dislike ‘tell-all’ accounts – especially ghost written ones. But it’s hard to miss the more sensational details of the book, such is the media attention it’s received, or the book’s author who has undertaken a circuit of all the major talk shows in North America. But it takes a bit of a hypocrite to denounce the press and members of the media as soulless bloodhounds who’ll stop at nothing to get a photo or a story and then use those very same entities to push a book. It takes a special kind of arrogance to use a position of influence or power to take intimate private matters public, whilst simultaneously bemoan a lack of privacy.

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There is no question, at least in my mind, Prince Harry has abused his position in a very similar way of which he accuses his family members. The rest of us can’t call out family members in a book. Are we to assume that what Harry has endured with his family is somehow worse than anyone else with family problems? By what degree do we measure how much ‘worse’ it was for Harry – by how many free houses he got? The only difference between Harry and his family is the former royal feels he is ‘speaking up’ to reveal an institution built on prejudice and feels rightly justified in shining a light on how rotten it all is. But is there ever any justification for airing private family matters in public? And in such battles is there ever a winner?

For all his misguided notions, narratives emerging as false and the endless television appearances, interviews and such, there is at the heart of it all a 12-year old boy who lost his mum and is still finding a way to recover. The old saying, ‘there’s no better revenge than a life lived well’ is true here. This writer hopes Harry can find the inner strength to let go of the past and live it. It’s what his mum would’ve wanted.

M.A Gregory

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