Recently (okay today), I read an article about the royals. Yes, yes, the Bug has jumped on the royal bandwagon….but maybe not in the normal predictable ooh-and-aah and look-what-they-did-today-they-ate-breakfast-with-a-spoon-instead-of-a-fork manner that is so popular in all sorts of media and gossipy dinner conversations these days.
This article is in the May 28/2012 issue of Maclean’s magazine. This is what I would consider a influential and respectable magazine, so I was surprised to see the front cover emblazoned with the words “William turns 30, How Diana damaged her son A shocking new book says her mental illness wounded Prince William and even haunts his relationship with Kate“. Really people? The woman has been dead for over a decade now right? Leave her be.
That was rant number one.
So I guess my disappointment with Maclean’s is that they actually wrote an article that was basically a book review and then advertised it in the manner of a cheap gossip magazine. I was so disappointed that I decided to blog this, but wanted to link to the article for you. Unfortunately I could not find it online….but I found that in its history, Maclean’s has written quite a lot about the royals, and it seems that it takes a stance of a major Royal critic! I guess any magazine has to take a stance on current issue and I assume that there is only black or white to choose from or it would not be considered to have a point of view if it stayed in the grey area. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed though, because I believe let lying dogs be – the woman has passed and yes she may have had problems and issues that no one but her (IF her) understood fully.
That was rant number two…sorta…
My third rant is really what got me riled up. In the article (and in the book they are reviewing, Prince William, Born to be King by Penny Junor), they say that Diana’s mental illness has affected William’s (and Harry’s) and inadvertently Kate’s life indescribably, giving them unwanted mental issues of their own. It suggests that Diana (and Prince Charles) flaunted their children to the media and the world as a whole, denying them of a childhood and any hope of privacy in their lives. Then it congratulates the Royals for insisting that the young princes’ letters to their mother during their funeral was not broadcast to the world, but rather, discreetly placed in an envelope in the casket.
If you read this blog, and have read it for a while, you know that I would love to help diminish and hopefully delete the stigma that is held against mental illness. The article goes on to say that Diana admitted she had bulimia and self-harmed at times. It also said she had mood swings and that because of this, little William had to take on the parent’s role of comforter and consolation when she was upset. Now, no one except William knows if this is true, and no one except William will know if this affected him in any way at all.
The article also went on to say that this type of mental illness was the reason that Diana “gave away her children’s privacy”. Really? Do you REALLY think that her internal struggles are what made her push her children to the forefront of the media? Or do you think it was the fact that they were royals before they were even thought of and they had no choice in the matter – any of them. The world made the royals into celebrities and the world steals celebrities privacy away from them in the desire to know what colour their morning bowel movements are and how it differs from their evening bowel movements every second of every day.
As for Diana’s mental illness, I don’t know if she got treatment for it, but I have never met or heard of a bulimic who tried to destroy anyone else but themselves. Bulimia, in my opinion, is a self-worth problem – and internalised self-worth problem and will cause someone to withdraw rather than explode. Also, bulimia, like any other mental illness is just that – an illness – in the same manner as a flu or a cold or pneumonia or AIDS or cancer….it is treatable and should be seen as treatable like any other disease. It’s just that, a disease – nothing to be ashamed about. If you caught a flu, would you be ashamed? If a baby is born with AIDS, should it be discarded from society like a leper or treated as if it were a person that is being treated for a disease?
In the same manner, we should see any type of mental illness, in royals, in celebrities and in the person sitting next to you on the bus, as a disease that could and should be treated openly, without prejudice and without shame.