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OPINION: Lessons learned from the Harry and Meghan affair

In this edition of the Mercy Traveller, Philip Maher discusses what the Royal City can learn from the royal scandal

As any person living around our fair city of Guelph knows, our moniker is the Royal City. It was so named by John Galt, who dedicated the city in the 1800s to the royal family. So, you can hardly expect the interview with Meghan and Harry to go unnoticed. I mean, it’s practically family; not my family but somebody’s.

My blood isn’t blue—though my language can be sometimes. 

You can say you don’t care — and mostly I don’t — but this story has seemingly created a media frenzy that has nothing to do with pandemics, Justin, or for that matter, Donald. For this I am truly thankful. You think I’m joking, but I’m sure the tabloids are happy not to be talking about when your great aunt Netty can get immunized, as important as that is. 

My friends from the Royal City seem to lean toward either empathy for these royals or “meh, cry me a river.” 

A lot has been said about the implications of pulling back the curtain on “the Firm” as they call it. I’d call it a franchise. You get a title, select a target audience and go off to presumably do some good and make a living.

What can we learn? I’ll bypass the stuff that has already been said by countless columnists. My lesson is simply this: we all have issues. 

That is not to denigrate the couple. On the contrary, you can literally be married to a prince, hang around in a castle and still be unhappy in life. Again we are reminded that happiness comes from within and not from the things you own. It doesn’t matter if you own bitcoin, blippycoin, wear Prada or own the crown jewels—when you die, it’s gone. I’m not suggesting we accept injustice, just that we find a way to change it and remain happy. And no, it’s not easy. 

The couple talked about feeling restrained and controlled. They even took Meghan’s passport. Another lesson for us all. Paradoxically, security keeps things out, but it also locks us in. Life is full of risks, and those risks often provide us with the greatest joys. Facing our fears helps us define who we are. The couple seems willing to face some risks. Good for them. 

This entire debacle could have been avoided. That’s my third lesson. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that a good airing of the grievances (thank you Seinfeld) would have kept this family together. But that takes one side being ready to listen and another being ready to be honest. In many families it’s hard to get those two sides in the same room. The real tragedy here is that a path to reconciliation could have been available. As a communicator I’ve always contended that dropping a bomb on a country, nuclear or otherwise, is really sending a simple message that says, “We have a problem, we need to talk.” Going public on television is somewhat the same. 

We may be connected in the Royal City by history, but there is a greater connection. We are all human and suffer the same kinds of defeats, frustrations and disappointments. That is true no matter where you live in the world – Africa, North America or Europe. As time goes on this story will rise, fall and rise again faster than owning shares in GameStop.

However, my personal lesson from it all is simply to remember that I need to be kind to everyone regardless of their position in life. Whether they are rich or poor, you just never know what is going on. Everyone deserves some kindness.


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About the Author: Philip Maher

Philip Maher is a consultant and photojournalist. He has managed international communication projects for more than 20 years, taking him to more than 80 countries. His twitter is @mercytraveller.
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