Grandparents and other family members are just as easily affected by divorce and separation as the parents and children are.
As highlighted in the press recently with the ongoing saga of Meghan Markle (the Duchess of Sussex) and her estrangement from her father Thomas, family breakdowns can affect the wider family.
In this case we do not have the typical divorce or separation scenario, rather we have a family in which all communication has broken down. This is actually quite a common occurrence. Okay, it is not usually as public as this case but it is quite common for family members to become estranged for many reasons and this can lead to a breakdown or cessation of contact with the children of the family.
In this case we have Thomas Markle, the father of the Duchess who, for reasons we do not need to go into, appears to be completely estranged from his daughter and her son ‘Archie’, otherwise known as Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (7th in line to the throne).
He has made a public plea for his daughter to resume contact with him in an interview to the US press. Mr Markle detailed the grief he has experienced at being excluded from his daughter’s and grandchild’s life. The 75-year-old, who lives alone in Rosarito, Mexico, has called on Meghan to send a photograph of Archie so he can frame it and put it next to his favourite childhood picture of Meghan. In a heartfelt interview, Meghan’s father said he wanted to see if Archie had the “famous Markle nose”.
Okay, this case is quite extreme (for example there are numerous photographs of Archie online he can look at to see if he has his nose) but the case does highlight how grandparents can easily be cut off from contact with their grandchildren and the desperation that they often feel. At the moment Archie is too young to understand what is occurring with his family but for older children, the separation from extended family can also be confusing and damaging to them.
We offer mediation services to wider family members with a view to exploring the issue of contact aiming to help family members come to a workable agreement. If you would like any further details on this then please visit our website at Extended family members