Prince Harry's revelations will not seriously damage 1000-year-old Royal Family – Susan Dalgety

I have no intention of reading Prince’s Harry book, Spare.

The current royal family can trace their ancestors back to the Anglo-Saxon King Athelstan, depicted ordering the Bible to be translated into old English (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The current royal family can trace their ancestors back to the Anglo-Saxon King Athelstan, depicted ordering the Bible to be translated into old English (Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The only autobiography I have waiting in the pile of books by my bedside is a second-hand copy of Fighting All The Way by Barbara Castle. I am far more interested in the life of a pioneering female politician who fought her way to the top of British public life at a time when women were supposed to remain mute in the kitchen than the outpourings of a thirtysomething ex-soldier.

So sorry Harry, I won’t be boosting your royalties. I can’t even be bothered to read much of the over-excited coverage the ghost-written book has prompted. But as a mother of two sons, I do recognise some of the funnier episodes.

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My pair of siblings love each other, but like Harry and William (or Willy as Harry hilariously calls him) they have had their moments. I am not sure if any necklaces or dog bowls were broken, but there have been a few noisy arguments over the years. That’s brothers (or sisters) for you, and I am sure that in the years to come Willy and Harry will reconcile.

I am just as certain that Harry’s revelations will not destroy the monarchy, as some commentators suggest. The rift between him and his brother is embarrassing, as any family row can be. It is also tinged with sadness, and I am sure both men regret that their once-close relationship has all but collapsed.

But the British Royal Family will soldier on. It survived Henry VIII’s lust for executing his wives, came back brasher than ever after five years of Oliver Cromwell – astonishingly the first (and last, not counting his son’s brief tenure) person not a member of the Royal Family to be head of state. And when Harry’s great grand-uncle Edward VIII gave up the throne in 1936 for love, the crown simply passed to his younger brother.

The history of our monarchy is littered with terrible tales of murderous feuds, sexual scandals and treachery. Have we all forgotten King Charles’ tampon fantasy? Harry’s petty revelations may hurt his father, but they won’t damage an institution that began with Athelstan, the late Queen’s 30th great-grand-uncle, the first king of England who ascended the throne after defeating the last of the Vikings over 1000 years ago.