5 Things We Can Learn About Self Care From The Royal Family
5 Things We Can Learn About Self Care From The Royal Family
Posted on January 16th 2020 by Hollie Pita-Carr
What is happening with Harry and Meghan?
On January 8, 2020, Harry and Meghan announced on Instagram that they ‘intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s announcement to ‘make a transition’ are dominating the news and everyone seems to have a conflicting view on it…
From claims of bullying and domestic abuse to fairytale images of a man and woman giving up everything to be with the one they love, emotions and speculations are running high.
This article will provide a balanced update on the situation, what we know, what people are saying could be the reasons behind it all, plus most importantly what we can all learn from it.
Harry and Meghan’s announcement - what did they say exactly?
Signed ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,’ Harry and Meghan stated:
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
How does the Queen feel about Harry and Meghan’s announcement?
The Queen of England made a statement on January 13, 2020, with a focus on these being family matters, saying “These are complex matters for my family to resolve."
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II made it clear that she was also a grandmother in this situation when she stated “Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
Why did Meghan and Harry split from the Royal Family?
In October 2019, on an ITV documentary tour of Africa, the Duchess of Sussex admitted that it has been "hard" adjusting to royal life. She said that despite warnings from her British friends that the tabloids could "destroy" her life, she had not been prepared for the intensity of the media scrutiny.
There has been a lot of speculation, accusation and “false” news claims as to why Meghan and Harry split the British Royal Family. In the interest of providing a balanced view, based on substance and facts, this is what we know so far...
When asked how she was coping, Meghan said: "I have said for a long time to H - that is what I call him - it's not enough to just survive something, that's not the point of life. You have got to thrive."
Prince Harry also described his mental health and the pressures of his life as needing "constant management."
Mental health and self-care
We talk a lot about how ‘self-care is health care’ and the importance of prioritizing wellness and wellbeing.
This situation with the Monarchy could be seen as an example of putting yourself first and prioritizing you and your family’s needs and wants above outside expectations and pressures.
If it was any other ‘job’ people may not think twice about Harry’s decision to ‘transition’ to a new life. Indeed it could be argued that Meghan, like so many women, gave up her career, country, family, and life to become a wife and mother to be with the man she loved.
So should we be celebrating Harry and Megan’s decision to prioritize self-care and mental health? In contrast, there appears to be a lot of negative slander and criticism of their decision to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family.”
Many have been appalled at how Meghan has been treated and villainized throughout this process. The media are also under the spotlight for the pressures they put on people in the public eye.
“Bullying” and “abuse” claims
On one other side of the coin, a panelist on the Jeremy Vine Show Lois Perry caused outrage when she suggested that Harry could be a victim of domestic abuse. She said "Meghan has isolated Harry from his family. He is very vulnerable.”
Lois, who has previously spoken about being a victim of abuse and violence herself, added: "I recognize the signs: isolated from friends and family, check. Create an under siege and us-against-them mentality, check."
It seems that it’s not just Meghan who has had the finger pointed at when it comes to Harry. There have also been allegations of bullying by big brother Prince William the Duke of Cambridge.
What happened between Prince William and Harry?
Princes William and Harry issued a joint statement to address a UK newspaper story of “bullying” saying it was "inflammatory," "offensive" and “false.”
The statement on behalf of Harry and William said: "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."
As they say, no one ever really knows what is going on behind closed doors and so people are speculating, trying to fill in the blanks to create a more cohesive picture and story.
People have strong emotional reactions to the Royal Family as it is so tied into the British identity. The British Royal Family itself represents doing what is expected of you with a ‘stiff upper lip.’ They are icons of traditional values.
It could be said that becoming a princess is every little girl’s dream. Indeed reports claim that Megan was no different from any other little girl wanting to be a princess and marry her ‘Prince Charming’ to live happily ever after. This has led to many people asking why they would want to give this up?
However, life isn’t a fairytale. There are many other challenges in today’s modern world after the ‘happily ever after’.
Is the UK media responsible for Harry and Meghan’s split from the Royal Family?
Headlines such as the Insider “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are at war with the media — and their split from the Royal family shows they are fighting to win” suggest that the media could be part of the reason Harry and Megan are stepping back.
In 2019 Megan took legal action against the British tabloids and on 1 October 2019 Harry released a ‘Statement by His Royal Highness, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex’ which stated:
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences… There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.”
In addition, Harry refers to the tragic history of his mother’s past with the media, which must have had an impact on Harry and William and makes this situation even more poignant. Harry says that “My deepest fear is history repeating itself” and refers to it as “bullying.”
“There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behavior because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.
Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Living in the public eye versus privacy
Many celebrities and people in the public eye have spoken out for the need for privacy and the damaging impact that constant scrutiny and expectations can have on their lives.
Queen guitarist Brian May’s depression revelation shared how ‘Brian May is the latest in a line of high profile personalities to openly talk about their own experiences with mental health issues, particularly depression... Brian bravely shared his struggles, proving that anyone and everyone can suffer from depression, even much-loved legends, and icons. Brian May’s depression revelation helps raise awareness of mental health issues and the importance of talking. It is especially important for men to see that it is OK to open up and be honest about how they feel, and that help and support is always available.’
“Even people who appear to ‘have it all’ suffer”
Internationally renowned therapist Marisa Peer, who has worked with the Royal Family says: “Even people who appear to ‘have it all’ suffer, often because of the pressure to be perfect. As a celebrity therapist who has been working with clients for over thirty years, I have often been asked why do people get depressed? Depression needn’t be a life sentence, not when there are fast and effective solutions available, which is why I want everyone to know about them.”
This article summarizes Marisa Peer’s Top 5 Causes And How To Free Yourself From Depression.
So what can we learn from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step away from the British Royal Family?
- People will always have opinions no matter what you do. Whilst this is amplified in the media and public eye, it is something that affects everyone. That is why sometimes you just have to prioritize what is right for you and your family, regardless of the pressure and expectations of others. How to Overcome the Barriers to Critical Thinking and Rejection provides a useful and empowering guide to how you can ‘Make yourself rejection-proof and immune to destructive criticism.’
- Self-preservation is vital to your health and wellbeing. We can spend a lifetime trying to please everyone else, but ultimately you need to prioritize self-care and self-love. The world needs more love and the more you can love yourself and lead from a place of love, the more love will be available. That is why learning to love yourself can transform your life.
- It’s not the actual event but the meaning we attach to something that defines it. With so many stories, speculations and accusations flying around, we can never really know the truth. However, the meaning you attach to something defines what you believe to be true and what you believe to be true becomes true. Knowing the Rules Of the Mind can have a huge impact on how you define your life and others.
- There will always be conflict, the key is how to deal with it constructively. Try to focus on conflict resolution, rather than just conflict, to navigate through any disagreement constructively and productively.
- It’s OK to say when you are not OK. Sometimes actions speak louder than words as they say and this demonstrates how Harry and Meghan are calling out bullying behavior and taking a stand against it. Marisa Peer’s empowering Anti-bullying Campaign has more advice and practical suggestions to deal with bullying behavior.
Whatever your opinion or view, it is important to remember that just because someone is in the public eye or born into a role doesn't make them any less human. These are not fairytale characters written into history to live ‘happily ever after.’ They are real people who have real lives and real challenges, just like the rest of us. Love, compassion, understanding, and respect for personal choices can go a long way in helping us understand what we can learn about self care from the Royal Family.