Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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Well, the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was over a month ago, but I still see plenty of articles about it. It's really "stirred up" things in the Royal Family.


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Well, I guess it put "a bee in the royal bonnet." Although, I would not believe everything you read. Right after the interview, I read several articles suggesting the monarchy should end with Queen Elizabeth. I cannot imagine that happening.


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Oh, that isn't anything new. It's been going on for a long time; there was even talk of it when I lived in England decades ago. All the interview did was further encourage those who are already advocating it.


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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but as I said in our Banter Bite, Talk About Getting The Royal Treatment, the Royal Family does seem to have "issues" in terms of race relations and dealing with mental illness. I can understand why people are questioning whether the monarchy, with its "old-fashioned" traditions and beliefs, is still relevant.


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But it's not like that's the only place those issues exist. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on the news – it's everywhere! Unfortunately, the Oprah interview put a very public face on it – The Royal Family, or The Firm, which is how the family and institution refers to itself.


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Who nicknames themselves The Firm? It sounds like a Netflix series, but with less class than " The Crown."


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It always reminds me of one of my favorite Tom Cruise movies, "The Firm," based on the John Grisham novel. Anyway, I admit I love Tudor history, but I'm certainly no expert on the history of the British monarchy or Royal Family. But nicknames aside, I do think they serve an important purpose.


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Especially in terms of money. It is big business, which may explain the nickname. According to a recent Forbes article, the amount of money they bring in (primarily due to tourism) is estimated to contribute $2.7 billion a year to the U.K. economy (pre-pandemic). That makes the $550 million cost of running The Firm a smart investment.


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Wow! Those are some pretty big numbers. And leave it to you to have a financial perspective, but that wasn't what I was thinking about. I was thinking that during the 20 th Century, the Royal Family played an invaluable role in getting a nation to pull together, and stay together, as they fought not one, but two, World Wars.


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I defer to you when it comes to history, but that was a long time ago. World War II ended in 1945. How is that relevant today?


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Sometimes the mere existence of a well-established institution, and its pomp and circumstance, can remind people that they're a part of something bigger than themselves. That there's a history that binds you. In this case, as a country. I believe the Royal Family creates unity amongst the British people, including all its territories, around the world.


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Maybe during the last century, but I do not think that holds true today. Just look at how the British have reacted to the Oprah interview. It shows how opinions are strongly polarized, and instead of creating unity, it is now causing division. In many ways, it is similar to the polarization caused by Trump. And although he is no longer president, the polarization of the American people remains.


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That's an interesting analogy, but it does point out how far the American political system has changed. It used to be, by and large, about public service. Back when I was in college, the best and the brightest went into politics. Now, I feel that for so many politicians, it's just a job.


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A well-paying job with good benefits that can lead to many other opportunities. I am sure some are still doing it for public service, but the funny thing is that there are so many other ways to make a difference – including in the business sector, and working for non-profits.


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Which is what Prince Harry and Meghan say they're going to do. I appreciate they don't have to be part of the Royal Family to make a difference, but members of the Royal Family were always looked upon as great role models. They represented values that were worth trying to emulate – commitment, love of country, honor. And I think Queen Elizabeth still does.


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What about the others in the Royal Family? Do they just not care about the issues facing "commoners" or are they merely out-of-touch? And, do you think it is possible to take something as old and established as the monarchy and make it relevant in today's world?


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Too many questions all at once, but I think the Royal Family can play an important role. But it will take everyone being committed to the "bigger picture" and re-focusing on public service – not roles and titles. I know that Prince Charles has waited his entire life to be King, but in many ways, I think the Royal Family stands the best chance of survival if Prince William was to reign, as he represents a more modern Great Britain.


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I know nothing about Prince William, but know it is not a function of age – but of mindset. Finding balance between your position of royalty – where you are Head of State but must remain neutral with respect to political matters – and yet understanding the challenges facing society. And, although not making the rules, setting an example.


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Which is why, as I alluded to in my More Than Just A (Royal) Family Feud post, it's too bad that Prince Harry and Meghan aren't still "working members" of the Royal Family. I think they could've brought a much-needed reflection of modern society into The Firm.


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Well, I do not wish anything but the best for Queen Elizabeth, but it will be interesting to see what happens to The Firm when it is under new management.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.