The competing ethics of duty -v- self-interest misread by Harry and Meghan | Gavin Ashenden

Source: The competing ethics of duty -v- self-interest misread by Harry and Meghan | Gavin Ashenden

As reported by the BBC and posted on their Instagram page,

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex” – the above-mentioned Harry and Meghan – “have announced they will step back as ‘senior’ royals and work to become financially independent.

“In a statement, Prince Harry and Meghan also said they plan to split their time between the UK and North America…

“In their unexpected statement on Wednesday, also posted on their Instagram page, the couple said they made the decision ‘after many months of reflection and internal discussions.'”

Here’s an excerpt of that Instagam post:

After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.

“It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.

To which Gavin Ashenden, the former Queen’s Chaplain who became a Continuing Anglican Bishop, and more recently “swam the Tiber” to Rome, responds (accurately, in my opinion):

“The announcement from Harry and Meghan will cause a variety of responses from the public. One of them will be sadness. There is a tragic element to the blinkeredness and immaturity that mistakes a bid for independence as ‘carving a progressive role.’

“It isn’t that at all of course. In reality it is choosing between two competing philosophies or ethics.

“One, which the monarchy is founded on and depends on, is a Christian one in which doing one’s duty on behalf of others takes priority over self-interest. The other is a concentration on self-interest and self expression (however it is justified) at the expense of self-sacrifice and duty.”

Indeed. There could hardly be more difference between their proclamation and that of Harry’s grandmother, Her Majesty The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, in 1947, when she promised her people,

I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

That is the very definition of self-sacrifice and duty, and Her Majesty has lived it, as she promised, all her life long. Her devotion to her people, her realms, and the Commonwealth is unquestionable, as is her sense of duty. A shame it has not run true, through the generations.

Thankfully, HRH Prince William and Katherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William being second in line to the Throne following his father, HRH Charles Prince of Wales), seem rather more solid than the Sussexes. I hope and pray that proves to be the case!


N.B. – Also from the BBC article:

“Former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter suggested the decision showed Prince Harry’s ‘heart ruling his head.'”

I would say that is a pretty good condensation of the saga of Harry and Meghan, in general.

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

2 thoughts on “The competing ethics of duty -v- self-interest misread by Harry and Meghan | Gavin Ashenden”

  1. Much as I hate to see such turmoil in one of the few remaining royal families, I just cannot deny the feeling of “Good riddence!” Better to have them leave on their own like that than to continue their poor example. Then there’s Andrew…
    Pity the Queen as she watches members of her high profile family make such disasters of their lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree! And while it’s entirely likely that they decided to leave in a fit of post-adolescent pique – it would fit what seems to be the profile of those two – I do find myself wondering whether Harry’s Royal grandmother didn’t have a little chat with him, or both of them…

      The Queen is no fool, and I suspect that more goes on behind the doors of Buckingham Palace than makes it to the news. But whatever the origin of this decision, as you say, good riddance. I would have preferred Australia, as it gets them even further away, but Canada’s better than Britain!

      I do feel for Her Majesty, though. She deserves better, in her sunset years… God save The Queen.

      Liked by 1 person

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