Royals

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Harry, The Good Husband, Made The Only Choice He Could

Of all the things we can take away from Meghan Markle’s interview, here’s my favorite part: she’s got Prince Harry on her side.

For every viral tweet on the magic of Oprah and the offer to dismantle the British monarchy themselves, there are thousands of tiny voices breaking through to shout about the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview with surprising (I mean, not really) vitriol. With all of the tea spilled (PG Tips, naturally), there is a steady drumbeat of Meghan hate repeating over and over that Meghan is a manipulative and controlling freak because of Harry’s reply to Oprah that no, he wouldn’t have left the royal family if it wasn’t for his wife.

“I asked for calm from the British tabloids — once as a boyfriend, once as a husband, and once as a father,” Prince Harry told Oprah. When Oprah pressed, asking him if their move from the UK and from the royal duties was more about the press or the institution of the royal family, Harry said, “Both.”

I have come back again and again to the words he chose: “Once as a boyfriend, once as a husband, and once as a father.” These are titles he has because of Meghan, but they aren’t titles bestowed upon him by a manipulative abuser who just wants to alienate him from his family. These are titles Harry is happy — overjoyed, it seems — to hold, and titles he takes seriously. Leaving a toxic situation because your wife is literally on the verge of suicide isn’t a cry for help or capitulation to a manipulative spouse. It’s what any good boyfriend, husband, or father — any good partner — would do.

In the interview, Meghan speaks openly about giving up her entire life for Prince Harry and The Firm, as the institution of the royal family is known. And she did. Her career, her friends and family, apparently even her passport and driver’s license. She took a leap of faith with her husband and his family, ready to acclimate to the word he had inhabited since birth.

And when it didn’t work, her husband said OK. That’s enough of that. It wasn’t that he was manipulated by Meghan, but rather that his eyes were opened to the injustices his wife was facing and to the ways that his family are part of a system that traps them all. "I myself was trapped. I didn't see a way out. I was trapped but I didn't know I was trapped,” Prince Harry told Oprah.

As a boyfriend, as a husband, as a father, he too was trapped. And once he saw that, he could not look away.

Society talks a lot about support from partners and what it means to have a supportive family. The entire past year of a pandemic has been a barrage of “moms need help” and “moms are doing it all” and “moms can’t cope anymore” followed by suggestions like “so marry better men” from those who can’t see the forest for the trees.

And now we have a “better” man. We have a man who sees the hurt and the pain his life and surroundings are causing his spouse. He hears her struggling with suicidal thoughts while she’s pregnant, he reads the “colonial undertones of headlines written about Meghan” and notices that no one in his family is speaking up about them — and he makes a decision. Enough. As a boyfriend, as a husband, and now as a father. Enough.

Prince Harry isn’t being controlled or manipulated. He isn’t being abused or forced into exile from his family. “My biggest concern was history repeating itself — I'm talking about my mother. And what I was seeing was history repeating itself, but far more dangerous because you add race in, and you add social media in,” he told Oprah.

He’s being a good husband. And of all the things we can take away from Meghan’s interview, here’s my favorite part: she’s got Prince Harry on her side. And he seems like the best kind of ally. As a boyfriend, as a husband, and now as a father.