In this image provided by Apple, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, appears in a scene from “The Me You Can’t See.” (Apple via AP)

In this image provided by Apple, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, appears in a scene from “The Me You Can’t See.” (Apple via AP)

‘I was afraid’: Prince Harry reveals his journey with mental health

He describes instances of feeling helpless as a young boy while riding in the car with his mother, Princess Diana, who cried as they were surrounded by paparazzi

For Harry, returning to London to attend Prince Philip’s funeral last month meant once more facing a place where he felt trapped and hunted by cameras. It would be a test of his ability to cope with the anxiety that was bubbling up again.

“I was worried about it, I was afraid,” Harry told The Associated Press during a recent joint interview with Oprah Winfrey to promote a mental-health series they co-created and co-executive produced for Apple TV+.

He was able to work through any trepidation using coping skills learned in therapy.

“It definitely made it a lot easier, but the heart still pounds,” said Harry, the Duke of Sussex and grandson of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband Philip.

In “The Me You Can’t See,” which debuted Thursday night on Apple’s streaming service, Harry reveals that he first saw a therapist approximately four years ago at the encouragement of then-girlfriend Meghan. They’d had an argument and she recognized his anger seemed misplaced.

The series is another chapter in the unprecedented openness that Harry has brought to his life and his royal family relationships since stepping away from his duties and moving with his wife to California. In March, he and Meghan gave a headline-making interview to Winfrey that elicited a rare public response from the palace.

Harry’s self-work may be relatively recent but he and older brother William, The Duke of Cambridge, have long championed the importance of mental health. In 2016, Harry, William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, launched Heads Together, an initiative to speak up and not be ashamed to ask for help when mental well-being is at stake.

Their collective work led to interactions with people across the globe, from all walks of life, and they recognized a common thread. “Sharing your story in order to be able to save a life or help others is absolutely critical,” said Harry.

Harry is practicing what he preaches and laying bare his own struggles with trauma and grief. He describes in “The Me You Can’t See,” the instances of feeling helpless as a young boy while riding in the car with his mother, Princess Diana, who cried as they were surrounded by paparazzi and she struggled to drive.

Years later, Diana was killed in Paris after the car she and friend Dodi Fayed were riding in, crashed during a high-speed chase to flee cameras. Harry was 12 and suppressed his own feelings to meet the mourning public gathered outside Kensington Palace.

Cameras rolled and snapped away as he walked behind her casket to Diana’s funeral, alongside William, father Prince Charles, Philip and Diana’s brother Charles Spencer.

Harry’s revelations coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s official confirmation a few months ago that he and Meghan will not return to their senior royal positions within the family, following a one-year trial period.

The couple now lives about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles in an exclusive area near Santa Barbara called Montecito. They count Winfrey, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom as neighbors. The paparazzi still lurk but it’s less intense than in Los Angeles.

This new, outspoken prince who shares his emotions is a contrast to the “never complain, never explain,” “keep calm and carry on” mantras that are part of the prototypical British way.

The British tabloids have had a field day picking apart his statements. Some royal commentators have also cried foul over a contradiction between seeking a private life yet granting interviews and revealing family strife.

Harry appears to be cautious in choosing what he wants to speak about, and neither he nor Meghan seem interested in sharing their every move with the world. They do not operate a social media account.

He is undeterred by naysayers, he says, because there’s a greater good in being honest about his struggles. “I see it as a responsibility. I don’t find it hard to open up,” he said. “Knowing the impacts and the positive reaction that it has for so many people that also suffer, I do believe it’s a responsibility.”

Winfrey was already working with Apple to develop a series on mental health when a conversation with Harry sparked the idea to join forces.

“We were having a conversation and I asked him, ‘What are the two most important issues you think facing the world today?’ And he said immediately, ‘climate change and mental health.’”

She mentioned the project and Winfrey recalls him later saying, ‘Oh, by the way, if you ever need any help with that … give me a call.’ And I went and turned around and said, ‘What’s your number?’”

Winfrey’s existing partnership with Apple created a rare opportunity to reach the vast number of people who use the company’s devices, Harry said.

“If that’s in a billion pockets on a billion screens, then maybe we can really start a global conversation about this,” he said.

Winfrey said Harry pushed to present a global perspective. “This has got to be a world thing and not just a U.S. thing,’” she recounted him saying, adding: “I think we’ve accomplished that really well.”

Harry jokes he’s “slowly catching up” to Winfrey’s decades of inner-work and encouragement of others to do the same whether on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or her “Super Soul Sunday” interviews on OWN. Even Winfrey said she’s had a lot to learn.

“I have dealt personally with one of the girls from my school (Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa), who had schizophrenia,” Winfrey said. “Only after hearing the doctor say that ‘it’s a diagnosis. It’s not your life, it’s not who you are,’ that I had my great awakening about it. … ‘That is not you. You are a person who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia.’ That is powerful.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Royal family

Just Posted

Old-growth logging protesters block a road on Monday, June 14. This is not the blockade at Honeymoon Bay referred to in the story. (Facebook photo)
Old-growth logging protesters block RCMP access on road near Honeymoon Bay

Police were on their way to enforcement in Fairy Creek area when they were stopped

DAVID VAN DEVENTER
Cowichan Citizen and Lake Cowichan Gazette announce new publisher

David van Deventer has been with Black Press Media since 2014

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
COVID vaccine clinic coming to Lake Cowichan as area numbers lag

Clinic will operate at arena starting June 23

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New Indigenous treatment centre to be built near Duncan

Centre will help survivors of residential schools

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Most Read