Is conflict on the rise for everyone including the Royal Family in this multicultural age with terrorism, challenges in our climate, politics and thinking or is it merely the consequence of a more connected world? Everyone seems free to chip in with their viewpoints on the latest controversy, potentially fuelling divisions. With multiple opinions who is right? We all like to be right but we cannot possibly all be right at the same time when holding divergent views. In the media spotlight or not we all search for an appreciative audience and validation.
The media storm surrounding Meghan and Harry is in full swing this week. More than in most conflicts it feels like everyone can comment and be heard because it is about family, and “our” Royal family at that.
The risks of “getting this wrong” at the outset were being talked about as is common with breaking news stories. Conjecture can be a dangerous game but happily some ideas are surfacing and being shared in the media that hint at the possibility of finding an acceptable outcome.
There are many familiar elements in the current dilemma of this human story so is it different from any other family upset? Some families will have more complex issues than others but if I were asked to help to resolve the situation as a mediator, the process I would want to apply would be the same, Royal or not.
Even though I have my own thoughts on the situation, a mediator is expected to maintain an even handed approach. To set the scene I would seek to establish:
- A willingness to take part openly and honestly
- Respect for everyone participating
- Engagement in active listening
- Paramountcy of the welfare of children
- A safe environment
- An understanding of external influences
- Suspension of judgment
All in a private setting.
Scrutiny can be a powerful aid or enemy. Predicting the outcome on the world stage is something the Royals know well. With Harry and Meghan stating a preference for a different relationship they and the other members of the Royal family must still face intrusion into their private lives that public interest demands through the influence of the media. The outcome of their efforts will therefore be examined, but so maybe it be in other family mediations. The difference for the Royals is they will hope for the seal of approval from the world whereas other couples may need the seal of a court order to bind them to their decision making.