How governance can be affected by turbulence within the family business – and ways to manage this.
Our family is the first community we find ourselves a part of, and it moulds our personality as we face the world. This doesn’t mean we will always be part of the community, however. Sometimes to grow, we must be apart.
turbulence in family business

What you need to know

  • What happens within a family business when there’s conflict amongst family members? How does the family keep itself unified while also ensuring the needs of each member are met?
  • To answer this, we examine the living example of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In a highly-publicized interview, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shared how the family was at odds with the couple, which ultimately led to them leaving the Royal family.
  • As one of the oldest family businesses in the world, the Royal Family is living through something many family offices will recognize as what happens when the next generation acts differently from the previous one and what can happen when there’s conflict amongst them.
Foresight Updated on January 16, 2024

In the midst of the global pandemic and all its thunderous noise, came the highly controversial upset of the interview of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Meghan Markle and Prince Harry) with Oprah Winfrey. The interview garnered a lot of attention – and opinions. Members of the public and media spoke out about how they felt, their take on what was going on, and what thought was appropriate or not. In the grand scheme of things, the Duke and the Duchess as individuals were entitled to make their own choices. No matter how we may feel about a person’s actions, when we are not a part of their experiences or in their family, we are merely on the outside looking in –and perceptions may differ depending on which angle you are looking in from. In this case in point, many were looking in from a judgemental vantage point. And the conflict in this family business can be viewed as a cautionary tale.

You may be wondering what this has to do with a family office or family business.

Well, it starts by being centered on family. The Royal family is probably one of the longest-standing family businesses in the world. It has had a family office for over a thousand years and it is in its umpteenth generation, and the pressure for the next generation to take the mantle is obvious. Being a multi-generational business, it has a myriad of family members and traditions it hopes to uphold going into the next generation. So it goes without saying that this family business is familiar with conflict.

About the Authors

Tsitsi Mutendi

Tsitsi Mutendi

Succession & governance

Tsitsi is an award-winning entrepreneur and consultant for family business and offices. As a third-generation family business owner, Tsitsi has extensive experience in international business and family business dynamics.

Connect with Tsitsi Mutendi

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Simple solutions for complex times.