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Kerri McLean

Like Harry and Meghan, I know what it's like to have different opinions to my family... but we will always have each other's backs

Kerry McLean


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

It's nearly impossible at the moment to pick up a paper or turn on the TV without being confronted with a picture of Harry, Meghan and various other members of 'The Firm', as Prince Philip allegedly calls the Royal family. There have been 101 experts interviewed about what they think is going to happen next to the Duke and Duchess, who is still speaking to whom and just how bitter, or otherwise, the fallout might be.

Whatever your feelings towards the individuals involved, I can't help but feel sorry that we may be looking at the family being irreparably fragmented. No matter how many millions you have in your bank account or how many gleaming tiaras you have stored away beside your ermine-covered cloak, nothing softens the blow of a bunch of formerly close relatives falling out.

I'm very close to my big extended family - too close at times I think my husband would say if he was brave enough to offer an opinion on the matter but, wise man that he is, he never does. I've grown up in the midst of a gaggle of outspoken aunts and great-aunts, colourful cousins, heaps of uncles and nephews, my sister, my mum and, at the top of the very large heap, my granny. We spent 99% of our time together reminiscing, gossiping and laughing but, being human, there are of course times when we have fallen out. They're usually arguments over small, unimportant things that somehow, in the heat of the moment, seem bigger than they are.

But isn't that how most fall-outs begin? Thankfully they've never been serious enough to cause any lasting or permanent damage and we all know that, no matter what else happens in life, we have each other's back.

It's only in recent years that I've come to really appreciate that support and recognise that not everyone is so lucky. I have friends who, through divorce or money issues, problems with alcohol abuse or gambling, have lost contact with various, formerly close members of their family and I see how their hearts have been left bruised and battered as a result. Even when the family member is nothing but a negative influence in their life, their absence can still cut very deep. I've seen at first hand how individuals try to put their lives back together and to fill the space created by a loved one's absence. It's a hard process and one I can't even start to imagine tackling with the eyes of the world upon you.

Not that the royals are the first to be forced to air their family's dirty laundry in public.

It wasn't that long ago that Olly Murs' twin brother appeared in the press to tell how his brother had not attended his wedding, preferring instead to attend an X Factor rehearsal. It caused a split between him and his sibling that extended into a chasm when their parents became involved, choosing to side with their famous son instead of his brother, Ben. The split became so bitter that Ben actually went as far as changing his last name by deed poll to his wife's maiden name. Of course, famous feuding siblings is nothing new.

Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine were successful, award-winning actresses and sisters who fought over men and film roles. Joan famously said: "I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did and if I die first, she'll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to that too."

Rock stars Liam and Noel Gallagher can often be found on Twitter, taking swipes at each other and even attempted to take each other to court over comments that had been made. They've both acknowledged their ongoing rows greatly upset their mum, Peggy, but that doesn't seem to make them rethink their actions. In a recent interview Liam stated: "If, God forbid, something happens to my mam and we haven't made up, then there will be war." I'm sure his mum was delighted to read such conciliatory language from her youngest son.

It all goes to show that while no two families are alike, whether famous or otherwise, a feud that's left to fester may never heal and that's heartbreaking for all concerned.

Belfast Telegraph