Family is complicated.
Family is where you are from. It is your DNA. It is your childhood memories. It is the people you are obligated to until the end of time.
It is also not the people you choose. Family is assigned, not selected.
In a fairytale world, your family is the people you have the most in common with. The people who (act like they) love you the most. Family has your back and works hard to resolve conflicts that inevitably arise.
But on planet Earth, family is a loaded term that can mean all of the things. Good, bad, tough, loving, inconsistent, loyal, cruel, absent, dramatic, neglectful, supportive, aloof, stable, frustrating, infuriating, benign- in reality, the list is even longer.
Especially if you are in the family business of a monarchy during the time of a social media-fueled internet.
As I am sure you have heard and read, the ever-affable Prince Harry is on a media tour to support his book, “Spare.” Promised to be a raw look into the inner workings of one of the most famous individuals’ lives, it also shines a spotlight on some other people… his family, otherwise referred to as The Royal Family.
That is the thing with family. Your story is their story, by default. Life-altering events that shaped Harry’s life also impacted his brother William’s trajectory. But not necessarily in the same way.
Personality type matters. Individual experience matters. Look at the families you know. Are the siblings very much the same? Sometimes, but usually… not so much. This brother is resilient, this sister moved away, and that brother struggled… a lot. All were raised in the same home, but many different takeaways.
In the tabloid world of Harry vs. William, there needs to be heroes and villains. Consumers want a story, a protagonist to cheer on and an antagonist to demonize. It is easier to understand if there is a good guy and a bad guy. People want to resolve how they feel about a situation, to confidently vote for one team or another.
I am not sure that it works that way. Family is too complicated for that. What if there are competing values? Honor, responsibility, tradition, and obligation seem respectable enough. Fulfillment, healing, change, and independence also are commendable. Can an exotic beach compete with a majestic mountain? Is one destination better than the other… or does it come down to personal preference?
Maybe with Harry and William (and other lower-profile brother duos), there is not a victor or villain, just a biased perspective. Not to mention the billions in real estate and insurmountable power and influence. Ya know, the normal things that complicate families.
But what do I know? Maybe a multi-million-dollar book deal could play a role… after all, I got six likes on the last photo I posted.