Dear Harry,

You wrote a book addressed to your brother, your father, and to us, the world. Let me try to give you an answer.

The moment we saw you walking behind the coffin of your mom – bereaved, lonely, too young for the tragic fate that befell on you – we embraced you in our hearts and became, sort of, your family. And as family can be, with its lovely nieces, weird aunts and awkward uncles, we were following you every step on the way, both from afar and close by. We were curious, many times too curious, and we wanted to know how you were doing, how you performed at school, how you grew up and….who you fell in love with. As it goes in family ( especially in this large one) we judged you, talked about you, admired you, scorned you, and wanted you to thrive and grow, in the knowledge that you carried an awful loss that could never be replaced. And now you wrote your book…

In mythology there is a fairytale called Iron John, a story of a young prince who gets in contact with the Wildman. The Wildman is a giant with red hair, just like you. To find the wildman a whole lake of tears has to be emptied. The prince helps the Wildman to break free from his cage, and in return the wildman teaches the prince the laws of life. To become humble and powerful, to overcome his enemies, to find the love of his life. The princess in the story helps the young prince in all his endeavours. In the end of the story the prince releases the wildman from an age old curse, and he receives all the wisdom and treasures of the wildman. The Wildman is an archetypal energy that transforms trauma into healing, rage into love.

Somehow I think the prince in this story is you. You had to go through the lake of tears to find the wildman, a raw but genuine power of goodness and authenticity. The wildman helps a person – and a people – to change, transform and release the burden of ages. The weight of a family tradition and a country fell on your shoulders. Your life and fate became entwined with that of your country. A country where things are increasingly out of balance: Brexit, recession, war, poverty, clownesk prime ministers, a parliament that behaves like a schoolclass, a looming separation of Scotland, etc. You break the rules of the Old Boys Network, the Omertà of the Army, the power of the Tabloids, the tradition of the Stiff Upperlip, and in essence: you deal a blow to the once great British Empire. You break free from traditions, just like a wildman, and bang your club on the ground. You are the one who draws the sword from the stone and speaks from the heart. And sometimes people just hate that. They would rather kill the messenger.

You show what it means to be a man in this time: not the old outdated patriarchal model – the one who doesn’t cry, the ones who shut up when things go wrong, the ones who keep on abusing earth, the ones who play the game of win or loose – but someone who stands up for the truth, his truth. A man who protects his family and who honours his wife. And the one who doesn’t shy away from a fight with those who attack him. As the paparazzi attacked your mum, so they attacked the woman you loved. And you became the prince to defend her, and to bring justice to the same people who had hunted your mum to her death. You became her spokesperson and advocate.

You show us where things in society have grown completely out of balance, out of touch, outdated and misogynist, for all the wrong reasons: curiosity, money, status and power. You show us that the old royal institutions, who couldn’t protect you mother, nor your wife, are outdated in their form or behaviour and that change is badly needed. You display a new sort of masculinity: brave, open, emotional, authentic, caring, audacious and in honour of the feminine. A real Prince.

As William is more of an English gentleman, you seem to be more of a Scottish wildman: straightforward, impulsive, down to earth, emotional, bold, truthful. An energy that is needed in times of insecurity and change. Your ‘princess’, Meghan, stands by your side and fights her own courageous battle, man and woman as equals, as your mum would have wanted it, and as you father couldn’t deliver, being brought up in another time. You do what he couldn’t do yet. In that respect, you are truly his son.

Now, as your greater family, we see two other victims, accomplices, opponents, royal chesspieces in a familiar game: your brother and your father. Deep in our hearts we want all of you reunited. How this has to happen we don’t know. The story has to unfold. The game has to be played.

Charles Spencer, the brother of your mum, said at her funeral: “I pledge that we will do all we can for these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned.” We can clearly witness that this goal has been achieved. In that respect you resemble “the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana”, your mom.

Know, that whatever happens, we keep following you and supporting you, even the awkward uncles who scorn and belittle you, and who behave like fools because they don’t know anything else in their little minds. Some hate you and Meghan for exposing themselves and saying the uneasy things. So be it.
We will certainly keep on commenting, judging, lamenting, gossiping, I’m afraid. Because, well, that is family. But underneath there is one thing you should know above all else.
We love you.’

Ton van der Kroon
Letter from a dutch writer who has been following your life,
author of ’the return of the king, a book for men in the 21st century.’


(Buy the english version on Amazon: the return of the king )