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A lesson from Princes William and Harry’s rift that we can all learn from

Britain's Prince Harry and Prince William

Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP

Cerith Gardiner - published on 07/30/22

With the latest book that promises to reveal the truth behind Harry and Meghan's behavior, this should be the only takeaway.

If you look in the British press, it’s hard to escape stories about the royals, especially concerning the relationship breakdown between Prince Harry and his brother Prince William.

Between interviews that caused much pain, and further book deals that promise to reveal the truth behind the rift, there doesn’t seem to be much hope of a reconciliation any time soon. In fact, only last week the reputable biographer Tom Bower released his “tell-all” book, Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War between the Windsors, that yet again airs the royals’ dirty laundry for all to see.

While there are some who wish to discover all the intricate details of the “warring Windsors,” the situation should really leave us more with an overriding feeling of sadness.

Sadness in the sense that it seems totally acceptable for a family’s issues to be turned into a subject of global salacious gossip, where a huge number of people judge individuals they don’t even know. And sadness that the head of the royal family — the Queen — at 96 years of age, has to witness such discord being played out in public, contrary to the privacy she holds dear.

Growing up, my mother always said “what happens in the family stays in the family.” Honestly, we was nothing very exciting to share with the world. But if a sibling annoyed us, it was dealt with at home, behind closed doors.

I don’t necessarily agree with my mother’s tight-lipped policy, as sometimes it’s important to speak to people who are more removed from a situation (in fact, that’s when your parish priest can come in handy). We need friends, and sometimes even helping professionals, for support. But it’s vital to know your audience when you’re sharing personal information. Do they want what’s best for you, or are they delighting in your misery?

The pope has raised the subject of gossip on a number of occasions, and talked about its damaging consequences. Likewise, he has also talked about the consequences of social media, which can be a feeding ground for gossip.

This is where we should consider our behavior. Social media has provided an easy platform not only for individuals to air their dirty laundry, but for others to spread it, while also inviting complete strangers to pipe up on a situation they know nothing about.

For some, the process of airing grievances can be cathartic (if only temporary). But when something is in the public domain you might need to brace yourself for any fallout. And more importantly, you have to think how it might impact your loved ones, now and in the future.

While there is obviously a lot of anger and resentment that has built up between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and other members of the royal family, we can pray that they will eventually be led on a path to reconciliation with one another.

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