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  • Tue, 16, Mar, 2021 - 5:00:AM

It’s okay to cut out toxic family members

Prince Harry and Ms. Markle visit Titanic Belfast / Northern Ireland Office / 2018 / Wikimedia Commons

I just can’t stop myself. I don’t want to care about members of the royal family. I really don’t. I mean, I’ve always had a soft spot for Diana – Harry too. But from a political vantage point, my perspective’s a little less forgiving. Granted, I’m not a historian or a scholar, but, at the very least, I’m aware that the Crown comes with some heavy baggage. Heavy like lead. Heavy like ka-thunk.

To be quite honest, I feel like I’m being baited. Because I doubt that I would think twice about the Sussexes if they weren’t shoved into my frontal lobe every time I open my phone in the morning. If they weren’t just there every time I walked past a dairy. If no one else was bothered by them.

But people are bothered by them. People are bothered by them a lot. Kate Hawkesby, as chronicled by Sam Brooks in The Spinoff, positively hates Markle. Like, to the point where it’s actually quite disturbing. And U.K. commentator Piers Morgan has long since departed the rational world. One would assume something terrible had happened to him – Markle must have killed his cat or something, surely. Actually, it appears that Markle ghosted him once? Wait, that can’t be it. A man wouldn’t completely blow his top and essentially destroy all of his professional integrity over one innocuous rejection from a woman, would he?

To quote The Princess of Wales (via The Crown); Gosh.

The thing is, almost everyone agrees about one thing when it comes to the British royals. Love them or hate them, few can deny there are some... emotional... issues there. Like, they definitely aren’t the healthiest, most well-adjusted family in the world. Certainly being born into a job is bizarre, let alone, as John Oliver once put it "a very silly pseudo job". One that comes with seemingly arbitrary traditions and eccentric protocols that they take quite seriously and often, it appears, at the expense of people's mental health. 

So, excuse me for not understanding the shock at this recent stepping down, I guess? 

Barring Kate Middleton, who had an 8-year run-up before she married Prince William, almost every woman who has recently married into this particular family has struggled enormously. Diana is an obvious example, but, in 1996 Sarah Ferguson also provided Oprah with a sit-down tell-all.

Seriously, you should go watch it on YouTube [link above]. It's striking now that the Sussexes have done the same thing. Choice quotes include: “It’s not a fairy-tale, it’s real-life in there. Well, they think it’s real life in there…” and “The British Press at the moment is completely and utterly cruel, and so invasive.” One year later, her sister-in-law Diana would be dead.

The British tabloid media, of course, have also collaborated with Markle’s estranged father Thomas Markle. I’ve seen commentary from reporters, and from the Twitterverse, that she’s ‘cruel’ for cutting him off.

I disagree. No one has the God-given right to be involved in anyone’s life – not even a relative. Not even a father. It is perfectly acceptable – healthy even – to cut people out of your life who are intentionally causing you pain. I think Harry and Meghan are brave to have taken the measures they have taken for their own mental health. We can talk about privilege and class – those are all very important discussions to have. But I will always be glad when people in mental distress remove themselves from a destructive situation. If that means cutting people out of your life – even relatives – so be it. 


  • Royals /
  • Monarchy /
  • Toxic relationships /
  • Feminism /
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