Ever since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with all things British. I listened to the Spice Girls on repeat, I had the Princess Diana Beanie Baby locked in a protective case, and I even perfected a British accent that I would force upon anyone who would listen. And not much has changed since then. These days, I often find myself rewatching Netflix’s “The Crown,” glued to the BBC, and dreaming of moving to London–I’ve already visited twice! There has always been something that has interested me about life across the pond that I can’t quite put my finger on, and the intrigue has only grown particularly as the drama at Buckingham Palace continues to unfold. I’m sure you’re aware of the Oprah Winfrey interview, the Netflix docuseries, and the newly released memoir, Spare, all of which offer rare and detailed accounts of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s experiences both within and beyond Palace walls. It seems that with every second that passes by, a new intimate detail is made public. And while I’m not sure how I feel about the publicity they’re receiving, I have to admit it takes incredible courage and vulnerability to walk away from all you knew and tell your truth, as ugly and difficult as it might be.
Now, I don’t plan on reading Prince Harry’s memoir, but it’s hard to miss the Cliffsnotes when the headlines and hottakes are everywhere. One thing that’s been circulating and struck me most is the concept of the “heir” (successor to the royal throne) and “spare” (the human backup). Another way to think about this is an heir being prized, beloved, and in the limelight while the spare is often considered the lesser of the two and cast in the shadows of their counterpart. In this case, Prince William is the heir and Prince Harry the spare. At first glance, this might seem like a pointless topic that has no relevance beyond the British monarchy and other royal families, but if you zoom out just slightly and reflected on your own experience, is it possible that there were moments in your life (and maybe there still are) where you were seen and treated as the spare to someone else’s heir? Where you were made to walk in the shadows of someone else’s light? Where you were deemed inferior because of birth order, popularity, or some other nebulous reason? I know I can. And I can also tell you this: it sucks. But does it have to be this way?
In these moments, we’re often faced with two choices: we can either stay in the shadows and accept the role we were designated (not destined, as people might have us to believe) to play, or we can disrupt the status quo, forge a new path, and step into our own limelight. Neither of these choices are easy or simple. They’re probably also not as black and white as I’m making them out to be. Either way, take a second to ask yourself this: do I compromise who I am for the sake of someone else? Do I dim my light so that someone else’s may shine? Or is there room for us both at the top? I’m hoping the answers to the first two questions are a resounding “no” followed by a “yes” (and in some cases, “maybe?”). So, how do you do that? How do you maintain your integrity and shine despite it all?
- Decide and believe that you belong and are enough just as you are. Your value is not dependent on anyone else. You have value simply because you do.
- Limit those self-doubts and quiet that critical voice that whispers “spare, spare, spare.” Remember who you are!
- Do what sparks joy and live your life authentically (just don’t hurt yourself or anyone else in the process).
- Remember that people will project their insecurities onto you and try to belittle or demean you, but that has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. You can’t control what people say, think, or how they treat you. You can only control your own actions and beliefs.
- Recognize that you might lose some people because you refuse to be a pawn, but in the end, you’ve gained yourself. Can you think of a better prize?
Whether you’re Prince Harry or an ordinary “spare,” you deserve more than living in someone else’s shadow. Breaking out won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Trust me.
2 thoughts on “Step Into Your Limelight”
As the spare, Harry was free to do what he pleased. He was a glamorous figure and feted wherever he went.
Despite the legacy of his great grandmother who refused to leave her husband and people for relative safety during the war, the adult Harry manages to put the blame on his brother for the Nazi uniform incident. He can only get away with his spiteful revisionist book and fictional documentary and endless I’m the victim type interviews because he knows the royal family won’t refute his lies or at best one sided half truths.
I’ve seen and read enough examples of how excited the British people were when that attractive but unpleasant couple announced their engagement. Inviting her mother to the wedding but excluding the white father who raised Megan and doted on her says a lot about Megan’s narrative.
last and most unforgivable is that this unpleasant couple couldn’t wait for the queen and her partner to die. Harry and Meg made their end of life a misery.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think we may have watched, read, and witnessed two very different accounts of his upbringing, which is fine. It also seems like you might be focusing on just one aspect of my post, which is also fine. My goal was to empower people, regardless of who they are, to step outside of the shadows and live their truth, even if that rubs other people the wrong way (as it seems to have for you re: Harry). My hope is that we can be more accepting and respectful of people’s decisions, even if we disagree with them. Take care and thanks for following along!
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