The challenges of Harry the Prince
PRINCES are noted nowadays as being the heroes in Disney-produced films which end in "Happy Ever After". The Prince-star of all stars in real life has been Prince Harry, one of the heirs to the British throne in this day and age. His story has been a mix of bitter and sweet, for a large part of his 32 years when he lost his mother, Princess Diana. Few knew later how deeply he mourned and the pain he felt.
Everybody far and wide knows of his taste for good times and for globe-trotting. Jamaica has made it on his list of places where the good times roll and where he has popped up every now and then to do good things in the name of his grandmother, The Queen. Despite our arguments from time to time for her reign to continue here, or as we say, Farewell, Harry still regards us as friends. When he comes here, it is no place like this for him.
His trips bring him to our shores on good-neighbourly missions, which he fully enjoys. He revealed a serious side on one hand and "let the good times roll" on the other. The current Harry story, which has been making headlines, especially via the British media, is "a revelation of the life of Harry over the years", when he has had to face some serious challenges.
British media, who have never missed a story of the life and times of their revered Royal Family, have always kept an eye on their beloved princes Harry and brother William, who with his wife, have been pillars of strength for Harry, the younger, who has had many challenges since his mother’s death. The Harry story has always been about the excitement which follows him wherever he goes. The deeper challenge often went unnoticed. Countries like ours, which have had some special moments when Harry visits, have been glad to see him, not only for his civility but for the global media attention the countries get from those visits.
We have got some pretty good coverage over his fondness for Usain, the Big Man, the Prince of the Track, the guy who knows how to get a good joke out of a Prince who challenged him to a race – and lost, of course. Harry got as much out of the joke as the Prince of Jah-mek-yah, to the extent that the Royal Harry took home his souvenir Tee-shirt with Usain’s image, of course. Big joke on a likkle island, which depends on tourism marketing. No problem!
Harry is OUR salesman! Besides letting the good times roll, in previous visits, Harry demonstrated his willingness to give of his time to projects benefiting those with needs. He has been here more than once to give his support to programmes to benefit the young and to show what "good ambassador" means.
Arriving in a time when we were rumbling about "dumping Royalty", Harry still danced, had a good time and pledged that he would return. Good-time Harry visited babies in hospital, as well as teenagers benefiting from educational projects. He even went to unveil a statue at our Jubilee Maternity Hospital, although he was nobody’s father. He could take on anything, including fighting for his country at war and working through other projects to show that he was no "waste-a-time prince".
Word was that Harry would be with us soon again for a personal occasion in our tourism area (Round Hill and all that). While we expected word of the usual do-good project, a media headline emerged in recent days featuring him not only for good times but an occasion of his greatest loss and the pain it brought him. The story in this publication said: "Harry has revealed for the first time that losing his mother, when he was only 12 years of age, filled him with grief and rage and mental anguish. He could only manage to survive after he took on counselling to help him deal with the emotional turmoil, with which he was plagued."
The British press never misses an opportunity to get the "big story", especially when and where Royals are involved. So, they took after it, not missing pursuit of Prince Harry, fifth heir to the Royal Throne, who later revealed that he had nearly suffered multiple breakdowns after his mother’s death. "Royalty or no royalty, pain and suffering lurk in the confusion of life. Prince or pauper, rich or poor, pain and grief can bring us all to our knees" and that Prince Harry struggled with.
The photograph of him at a charity event, to assist young people and which accompanied the text, was published with the story seen in this publication on Tuesday of this week. It revealed that the Prince Harry story was no joke. The need of a proper haircut, the need to tame a scruffy beard, revealing his need to shave, joined the sadness-filled eyes proving that the Prince was battling with pain and grief like any ordinary person caught up in mourning. Sometimes we tend to get carried away with the belief that people of privilege don’t feel pain like we do. "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown", some sensitive person once said.
News now that the Prince has come Jamaica-way, yet again, has brought with it another story of the Prince and pain. This time, he arrived in Montego Bay on Wednesday, March 1 to prepare for the wedding of two close friends. When the British media discovered that he would be accompanied by his girlfriend, Meghan Markle, an American-born, Canadian resident and a noted actress, the Brits went wild.
The Guardian, one of the United Kingdom’s long-surviving media houses, described her as "a glamorous brunette" and ensured that readers knew she was what Americans call "bi-racial". Her mother, they revealed, is visibly black, with dreadlocks at that! Her father is white. (So what?) The inclusion of such details is what we JA people are not afraid to describe as "crumooching". So what if the Prince found happiness by marrying a black woman? Don’t you forget it! One British writer even advised: "The very concept of the Royal Family is the anti-thesis of diversity". So, where to now?
In the minds of the "Prides and Prejudices", Prince Harry dares not even think of it. Royalty doesn’t inter-marry! wrote another smartypants. Another literary reminder was introduced (to soothe the savage breast, dare we say?) "There have been Africans throughout Europe since, according to another of the literati, at least in Roman times when marriages took place between European royals with their fondness for black servants and extra-marital reproduction". (Imagine if you will, the responses!)
A Royal historian, one Mr Hugo Vickers, was quoted as assuring Brits that "even if African blood had penetrated the royal bloodline, there would be no shame attached to it and it certainly wouldn’t show that they (Africans) were significantly black".
Poor Harry! Will you not be permitted by your own people to find happiness? No man! Dem cyaan do you so, Bredda Harry! Who you love, you love! Come back to Jamaica again and mek wi help you deal with it. Nothing we love more than get inna people business! Respect due, yuh hear! Take our advice, marry whom you love! We wish you happiness, Prince or Pauper. Everybody should get a share!
Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator