Thursday, March 15, 2012

Prince Harry--Just Ordinary Folks

There is going to be an interview with Prince Harry this week in which he says he and his brother often spoke about wanting to be normal. He also said that the worst thing about his childhood was having to sit at adult dinner parties and listen to boring conversation.

Well Harry I've got news for you--you are delightfully normal. You have none of the royal aloofness and awkwardness among the plebs that made former generations of royals (including your father) seem so different, so nerdy. And anyone who can go into a combat unit in Afghanistan--not just as a royal stunt, but as a real, active member of that unit--is more than normal. He is someone to be respected, not just because he has a title but because he is willing to act like a normal chap in the worst of circumstances.

Harry also says that the important thing about his title is that it can raise awareness and money for charities and he's already working hard at that, especially in Africa. How very like his mother he is. Loves to party and dance, great sense of humor and equally great desire to do good. I'm sure she's really proud of him.

When his brother becomes king one day he'll also have an appreciation of what it's like to be a normal person. He has started married life living in a farm house in Wales with no servants. He has sat in the mess with fellow RAF officers, waiting to be called out on search and rescue duty. He has faced horrendous conditionPrinces during ocean rescues. He'll be a king who knows what it's like to be hard up, scared, cold, worried.

The generation of royals I write about in my Royal Spyness books are completely cut off from the real world. Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret were dying to play with other girls, but had a governess all their lives. The closest they came was a girl guide troop started for them at Buckingham Palace with a few carefully chosen, suitable girls. But the desire to be normal was always lurking, I suspect. Princess Elizabeth volunteered to be a driver during WWII and learned about engines (and presumably some choice swear words while working on them). And yet once she became queen she lived apart in her palaces, only mixing with her subjects as their monarch.

I'm sure William and Harry will try to mix with their subjects as much as possible--the only thing holding them back is the stupid question of security. We live in a world where bumping off a royal is seen as a statement by many groups and religious fanatics. I don't think we can imagine what it is like to have a security detail following you everywhere you go. Not my cup of tea!

Harry wants to go back to Afghanistan with his unit. With the current situation and the number of crazy people over there who would think it a blow for Islam to kill a British prince I wonder if he will ever be allowed to?


  1. According to a story I read about the princesses during world war II, some children were sent away to live outside London away from the bombings. A few boarded at one of the royal houses and interacted with the princesses.

  2. The princesses were in London for most of the war. When it was suggested that they be sent to safety the queen said, "His majesty will not leave London, I will not leave his majesty and the girls will not leave me."

    Also by the war years they were almost grown up.