Growing up, I thought being the middle child was the worst position to be in. The oldest got away with everything simply because they were the first, and the youngest got away with everything simply because they were the last. Being stuck in the middle, I always felt that everyone cared just a ~little~ less. It was hard to not feel a little forgotten sometimes when my older sibling was paving the way and as my younger sibling was wrapping things up. As a kid, it was difficult to realize the beauty of being the middle.
Now that I’m older, I have come to learn that being in the middle is being in the sweet spot. Being a middle child, attention is heavily concentrated on my siblings, which as a kid, I hated, but as a young adult, it’s AMAZING. Unlike my siblings, I’m able to fly under the radar and do my own thing. I’m not saying that I’m able to run wild, I’m saying that I’m given a little more freedom and the distance to do my own thing and be my own person.
In 2011, the entire world’s focus was on the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I was only eleven years old and I remember how infatuated I was with absolutely EVERYTHING about the wedding. Just from watching TV, I remember the dress, the outfits, the flowers, the crowds, the family, EVERYTHING. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how invested so many AMERICANS were over a BRITISH royal wedding.
So what does this all have to do with the royal wedding in two days? Although he’s not the middle child, Prince Harry is something else: sixth in line for the throne. There are many before him and many after him. The upcoming royal wedding still has the attention of all of Britain and a good chunk of America, but nowhere’s near the same hype from seven years ago. Prince Harry is essentially the middle child of the royal family, without actually being so.
Currently, the internet is littered with hundreds of articles titled “X Things You Didn’t Know About the Royal Wedding,” all saying the same exact thing: because Prince Harry is farther from the throne, the wedding will not be as extravagant. The venue is smaller (meaning the guest list is 1,200 people smaller), there will be significantly fewer dignitaries, there will be no iconic balcony moment, there will be no procession through London, and the citizens of England WON’T get the day off of work. It’s all a little less grand. At first, reading this was a little disheartening. Prince Harry has always been my favorite and I was honestly pretty bummed that his wedding was going to be so much smaller. Your proximity to the throne shouldn’t determine how big or small people should be allowed to celebrate you, right?
But then I made the connection between Prince Harry’s position in the royal family and mine in my own family. Obviously, the whole royalty factor is a pretty big difference, but other than that our places are basically parallel. When I thought about my life and realized how amazingly beautiful it is to be out of the spotlight, I realized how lucky Prince Harry is for this wedding. When I thought it was unfair that their wedding will be smaller, I had the same mindset I did as when I was younger — that having a more low-key and private event meant it was less significant. But thinking of how much I value my not excessively showy life compared to my siblings, I discovered the hidden gem of this upcoming event: because this wedding isn’t as “royal” as his brother’s, Prince Harry has the ability to make it his own.
A smaller wedding (by absolutely no means is this wedding going to be small with 800 guests still, just smaller) leaves room for a more personable feel. This is one of the most important days of Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s lives and without worrying about the hundreds of dignitaries in attendance and the ENTIRE world watching, they can do it how they please. The less attention they have, the easier it will be to appreciate the day for what it’s actually worth. It will be easier for them to put their own spin on traditions and not be under scrutiny.
So to all of the royals who aren’t next in line and the middle children who are reading this, just know that we have it the best.