A week or two ago media was full of the news of how brave and open Prince Harry had been in talking about mental health, and how bad he’d been after his mother died. It was the ‘wow, a Royal who talks about mental issues, and also about himself’ and ‘isn’t he great for opening up?’
He was, obviously. But it’s wrong to assume a member of the Royal family will automatically be stuck-up. They will get things wrong, for various reasons, just like the rest of us. But the young ones are not setting out to be above everyone else.
But the thought that struck me was that Harry was saying he’d been mourning – or perhaps not properly mourning – his mother for a very long time. He was twelve when she died. Twelve. What do you do about such a young boy who’s lost his mother?
It seems the family must have forgotten to look after this child. They have the money and connections, so could have afforded both to engage professional help, and to spare some personal time on this boy.
It wasn’t until I read John Crace in the Guardian a week later that I felt someone else was seeing what I saw. Harry’s family should have done more for him. But maybe just as they misjudged the effect Diana’s death would have on the country in general, so they didn’t grasp what you do with children who are suffering. Even Royal children.
Harry and I lost our mothers within three months of each other. As I watched him at his mother’s funeral, I knew I’d be going through the same thing fairly soon. I even borrowed one of the hymns when the time came. But whereas I felt we were both too young for this, I knew I was old enough to weather what was coming. Just. But I had no inkling that he’d not have anyone much to talk to. After all, his family is far larger than mine. Although at the time, neither his father nor his grandmother had experience of what it’s like to lose a mother. Could be an excuse, I suppose.