There’s been a lot of talk about how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s plan to step back from their royal duties will affect them, how Queen Elizabeth feels about it and even what it means for Disney. But we haven’t yet closely examined the person whose life is really going to be impacted as a result of this move: Baby Archie. Will the little title-less royal benefit from Megxit, or is he losing out on the perks his family might provide?
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” was all the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said about Archie in their initial announcement.
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Amid all the speculation and analysis by royal experts and fans at home, we decided to seek out the perspective of an expert on children and parenting, clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg. She helped us outline three ways Archie will probably benefit from his parents’ decision.
Happy parents, happy kid
Rumor has it that internal strife in the royal family is what sparked this decision, though we still don’t know whether that’s is true. What we do know is that having in-laws is challenging for most people, and that all gets much more complicated once you have a baby. Meghan and Harry had been married for less than a year before Archie was born, which may have made all of these transitions even more difficult.
“She barely had time to cement and develop her relationship with her in-laws, and these are just not any in-laws,” Greenberg said. “Meghan also said that she was having a hard time with a new baby in a new country. And my guess would be a big part of that was family dynamics changing.”
By spending time away from those in-laws (and away from the press constantly hounding them about those in-laws), Meghan and Harry have a chance to ease that conflict, which, in turn, also benefits their son.
“Kids are extremely impacted by the mental health of their parents,” Greenberg said. “Whatever it is that the parents are feeling, the child may not be able to label it, but he will feel it.”
Life out of the spotlight
Many have guessed that the death of Princess Diana after being hounded by paparazzi was at the forefront of Harry’s mind when he and his wife opted for a different kind of royal life. But this isn’t just about physically protecting his wife and child. Being able to have more privacy may also help baby Archie have a happier upbringing.
“I would think that being watched by the media all the time would be very confusing for a child and make a child very self-conscious,” Greenberg said. “You’ve got to feel like you’re fishbowl all the time and there’s not room for making a mistake.”
Watching Mom and Dad’s Good Example
When we heard that part of the Sussexes’ plan is to “work to become financially independent,” our first thought was that it would do Archie some good to see his parents working like regular people, not just living off of dad’s inheritance. Greenberg corrected that notion, however. The fact of his parents working or being independent of the Queen isn’t inherently better, rather, it’s how they feel about what they’re doing.
“If he sees them having a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning in their lives, that will be good for him,” she explained.
But What About the Importance of Family?
Grandparents reading about Meghan and Harry right now may see this whole story from an entirely different angle. Don’t kids thrive when they’re surrounded by the support of an extended family, after all? Not if that extended family leads to more stress on his parents than they’re helping.
“She’s not really going to call her father-in-law and ask him to babysit,” Greenberg said of Meghan and Prince Charles.
The one thing Archie could miss out on is the chance to see his cousins more often. Once the dust settles, we hope there will be plenty of opportunities for royal playdates with George, Charlotte and Louis — in a relaxed setting, far, far away from prying eyes, however much we wish we could see them!
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