For me the story’s about Harry. A bewildered boy in the nightmare of his mother’s funeral cortège, a slightly off-kilter teenager and youth, a man who found strength in the Army’s camaraderie and sacrifice, a prince who launched and led the Invictus Games . . . and now? A man who has found a certain freedom.
Of course it’s an illusion, as he knows even as he enjoys it: he will always be “under the net” (if not in Iris Murdoch’s sense). The eyes of the world will always be upon him. He will be blamed excessively, praised excessively, hunted and haunted by the Press. Under a tree he may loll with his lovely wife but no shade will block out the words words words of others forever dissecting and describing him, in blazing capitals shouting from the sky.
He will also be hunted and haunted by his past. Many will see a textbook case of a psychic wound re-opened. In the lurid goldfish-bowl of his family, his judgement is off: you do not stir up the dark waters of racism. You do not even tell the world your father stopped taking your calls for a time. The wavering line between public and private is lost: an interview with Oprah is not a psychiatrist’s couch but in terms of confidentiality its precise opposite. He has made it harder for himself to find the necessary orientation of a public figure, in a world in which that unsteady marker is changing for each individual faster than ever before.
Simply, he is pitching too much of the present onto the burning-ground of the past. There is a risk of collateral damage; certainly he will be accused of causing the same. ‘The whole world is our hospital,’ said T.S.Eliot (again in a very different context). Harry, it isn’t. You have become a more private individual: honour that contract, which you instigated though you may be disappointed by its final terms; and the freedom you seek, even in the world’s gaze, can yet be yours. A vital, generous, independent-minded spirit has so much to give. But a balance must be found. Somehow, even in the royal frenzy about to descend upon our ears, your qualities are such I believe it will. Without rancour, without rivalry, while one brother will one day be a much-admired and much-loved King, the other will burnish what is in some ways the more difficult part of a shared legacy. To his home nation as to others he will be the People’s Prince.