Main menu


Carolyn Hax's Advice for Prince Harry and the Royal Family

featured image


Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax has not followed the drama of the British royal family. She avoided the Oprah interview, the Netflix documentary series and the bombastic excerpts from Prince Harry’s new book. Her apology: “It’s Kardashians, to me, with crowns.”

But Carolyn’s lack of knowledge of Windsor’s problems also makes her the Perfect person to weigh.

It allows her to see this saga for what it is: the kind of familiar angst she hears from her readers every day. When you remove the titles, fame, and extreme wealth, the core of all this drama is all too common. Tension between in-laws. Long-term sibling power dynamics. The unbearable weight of family expectations. Who can’t relate?

Our daily Post Reports podcast featured Carolyn, and host Martine Powers asked a few questions (written by producers Jordan-Marie Smith and Sabby Robinson) that were based on some painfully real situations that real watchers are sure to recognize. And for each, Carolyn offered advice that everyone — not just Harry, Meghan, Charles and William — might find helpful.

Here are the best parts of the conversation, edited for length and clarity:

Listen to the full episode of the Post Reports podcast: ‘Help! My family is completely messed up!’

Martine’s Powers: Carolyn, here’s the first question: “My brother recently released a memoir where he talks extensively about our very personal family matters. Furthermore, he and his wife released a Netflix documentary about our life and family. I feel like there’s already been a lot of toxic communication going on between us. What should I do? Should I speak publicly or should I try to talk to him to see if we can finally break this terrible cycle of public shaming?

Carolyn Hax: The first thing that comes to mind is that you have to go to the person. Because if the relationship hadn’t ended, none of this would be happening. And I think the way to fix anything like that is to take your own part in the breakage. Why did it break? What have you personally done to contribute to this problem?

Powers: It sounds like you’re saying you need to call this person and say, “Look, I did this wrong. I will acknowledge for you that some of these things were harmful or that I shouldn’t have done it.

Powers: This is a difficult conversation to have.

Hax: Of course. What I see a lot with these relationships that break so much and for so long and so badly is that there’s usually some difficult conversation that didn’t happen when it should have., because people avoided him or withdrew and defended themselves. And instead of just saying, “Okay, you’re right, I’m mad at you. You’ve done a lot of bad things yourself, but I’m not going to get anywhere until you own up to the bad things I’ve done,” people don’t want to do that.

It gets even harder when someone responds to your mistake with an even bigger mistake. And I think a lot of people are tempted to say, “It’s on now. What you did was so much worse that it absolved me of everything I’ve done. And that’s not true. You are still responsible for your share, even if it is much smaller.

The relationship may be beyond saving. It’s still better for you to acknowledge, acknowledge and apologize for what you did wrong, if only to yourself, just because it’s the right thing.

The verdict on the Prince Harry book: juicy, humorous, resentful and sad

Powers: It sounds like you’re saying this to, in turn, as a wounded person, go out and publish a memoir of your entire feud with this person who you know hurt you, that’s also a mistake. Publishing a memoir is perhaps not something everyone does, but I think a lot of people, when they’re angry, post something on Facebook about how they felt wronged by a member of their family.

Hax: If you have an objection to something someone is doing, you work it out with them. If you’re just talking about regular people who have something going on in their family, I think blowing it out to the world is vanity. Why? Why did you need to tell everyone about this? There has to be some reason to bring something public.

If there is an allegation of irregularity, [such as accusations of racism], which affects other people or compromises an institution, I think it’s important to speak up. I don’t think other people can say: if you feel you’ve been wronged by racist behavior, you have a obligation to talk about it. I think the injured party is the one who makes that calculation. But I think if someone chooses to own up to it, that’s absolutely defensible. Is important.

Powers: We have another question: “My husband and I have two young children and we really want them to have a close relationship with their cousins. But in recent years, my husband and his brother had a huge fight, and therefore our families never saw each other again. It also doesn’t help that they live in another country. How should I explain to my kids why they couldn’t see their cousins ​​and what should I do to make sure they can have some sort of relationship with them in the future?”

Hax: I’ve received many versions of this question and I think it’s one of the hardest to answer, and here’s why. If you are cutting a parent, you have to look to the future and recognize that this child of yours may cut you off when you do something wrong if you’re not giving them some kind of nuanced understanding of when it’s important to work on things. and when it’s important to protect yourself and cut the tie.

Trying to explain it to a child in childish terms is almost asking too much. So I think you end up with, “This is an unfortunate situation and we can’t see them right now. And I know we love your cousins ​​and I know they love you,” and you kind of treat it like an unfortunate fluke of circumstances. If you don’t burden them with their own prejudices, they can look for each other when they are out in the world.

Powers: The question many people struggle with is, should I tell my son why I think their aunt did some really bad things that I don’t agree with and that’s why we don’t talk? Should they keep it a secret and then let it just be a mystery for that kid’s entire childhood?

Hax: I don’t think secrecy and mystery equip your kids to handle things, because the minute you deny people information, they’re going to be looking for it. And they will, anyway. There is the point of inevitability in all of this. But I think if you stick with the truth and what you’ve done with the truth, I generally think it’s okay. So the truth is that the brothers are not getting along, the two families are not getting along, and that’s very unfortunate, and I wish it were different, but we won’t see them like we used to. And it’s a basic fact. Don’t throw anyone under any bus.

Powers: Okay, now we have one final question: “So, over two decades ago, I was widowed. When I wanted to remarry the new love of my life – or perhaps the longtime love of my life – my kids asked me not to. I did anyway. But I recently found out how unhappy one of my children was with my decision to go through with this marriage. I Love My Wife. She has been a rock by my side and it pains me that my son doesn’t see how important she is to me and our family. What do I do now?”

Hax: Live with it. You can’t pressure people to change their minds about how they feel, and the more you do, the more entrenched they will become. The father in this situation has to admit that he read it wrong and it cost him the relationship. And that goes back to the original answer that we were talking about, where you just own your part of it to yourself, to your own conscience. Say, “You know what? I read this wrong, and I’m really sorry.

You can go on for days about how “this was my life to live. I have to make my own choice. I’m not going to decide who my life partner will be based on my traumatized son. You can say all those things, and they’ll all be true, but there’s also an emotional truth, and the emotional truth is that this is going to be a sore spot for this kid.

Powers: Do you hear people go through situations like this?

Hax: I can’t think of one that’s directly analogous, but definitely the general idea of ​​someone setting up a condition that’s so cumbersome and complicated. And here’s the thing: if the children were writing to me, saying that they want to establish this condition, I would tell them no, don’t do it. Don’t prepare yourself for that kind of disappointment. Don’t depend on your emotional health on your father’s choices. Your emotional health is up to you, and the minute you put it in someone else’s hands, you’re asking for a lifetime of complications.