Duke and Duchess of Sussex's liberalism 'ignores importance of family' - Giles Fraser

Harry and Meghan have announced that they are stepping back as "senior" royalsReuters

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex should see their Royal relatives as essential to their flourishing and "not a disposable launch pad for the project of liberal self-realisation", Anglican priest and broadcaster Giles Fraser has said.

Writing in Unherd, the regular Thought for the Day contributor said that it was a "fantasy" to adopt a "make it on your own" attitude, whether royal or otherwise, as he encouraged the royal couple to reflect on the role played by their closest kin in their successes.

He said that a "wedge" between two competing views - one prioritising monarchy and the other liberalism - lay at the heart of their bombshell decision this week to step back from their role as "senior" royals.

While liberalism "repudiates all moral obligations other than the ones freely entered into by the individual", monarchy is by contrast "driven by a duty into which one is born", he wrote.

In his piece, Fraser suggested that the brand of liberalism personified by the Sussexes "ignores the importance of family" and that while it may promise individual freedom, it could instead "cut off the branch on which nests are built".

"How does liberalism — of which Meghan Markle feels like a supreme representative — deal with that age-old sense of moral obligation towards those who have brought you into life and have raised and nurtured you, without you having chosen them for the task," he asked.

"Without this very basic idea that we are born into some fundamental unit of existential solidarity, something towards which we owe an allegiance long before we are able to choose it, human life is released from its moorings and we are all deeply lost.

"This is where liberalism flounders. For when it comes to the most important basis of human flourishing, family life, liberalism has nothing useful to say, other than to remind us that some families are destructive and dysfunctional and best escaped from.

"Be your own person, it advises. Break free. But this is to cut off the branch on which nests are built."

He added: "Turbo charged by the siren calls of celebrity, liberalism holds out the fantasy that you can make it on your own. You can't."

He concluded with a suggestion to the royal couple that they remember the importance of family to their wellbeing.

"Family is the basis of human flourishing, not a disposable launch pad for the project of liberal self-realisation," he said.