Prince Harry’s mental health doco: The biggest bombshells

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·8-min read

Prince Harry's highly-anticipated mental health series he made with talk show icon Oprah Winfrey has been released, and with it comes a fresh raft of bombshells from the US-based royal.

Harry teamed up with Oprah to create and produce the five-part Apple TV+ series, The Me You Can't See, in which the 36-year-old makes a number of extremely personal revelations about his own mental health struggles.

Prince Harry on Oprah Winfrey i Apple TV+ documentary, The Me You Can't See
Prince Harry opens up to Oprah Winfrey in their Apple TV+ documentary, The Me You Can't See. Photo: Apple TV+.

From admitting to wanting to take drugs to the fight he had with his then-girlfriend, Meghan Markle, that prompted him to seek therapy, here are the prince's most startling admissions.

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'I was willing to take drugs'

Prince Harry described his life from the ages of 28 to 32 as a "nightmare period" as he struggled to cope with the unhealed wounds following the shock death of his mother, Princess Diana.

He revealed how he turned to alcohol and drugs to 'mask' the 'panic attacks, severe anxiety' he was experiencing at the time.

"I was willing to drink. I was willing to take drugs," he told Oprah.

"I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling. But I slowly became aware that, okay, I wasn't drinking Monday to Friday, but I would probably drink a week's worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night.

"And I would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something."

Prince Harry at afterparty at China White's club
Prince Harry, then aged 20, parties with friends in 2004 in Windsor, England. Photo: Getty Images.

An 'argument' with Meghan Markle prompted him to seek therapy

Early on in episode one, Prince Harry revealed that he started going to therapy four years ago, which surprised Oprah who remarked that it's fairly 'recent'.

"Four years of therapy for an individual that never thought that they would ever need, or do therapy is a long, long time," Harry responded.

"I wasn't in an environment where it was encouraged to talk about it [mental health] either," he added.

Later, Harry spoke about how an 'argument' with his then-girlfriend, Meghan Markle, was the wake-up call he needed to seek help.

"I saw GPs. I saw doctors. I saw therapists. I saw alternative therapists. I saw all sorts of people, but it was meeting and being with Meghan," he explained.

"I knew that if I didn't do the therapy and fix myself that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with.

"When she said, 'I think you need to see someone,' it was in reaction to an argument that we had. And in that argument not knowing about it, I reverted back to 12-year-old Harry."

Harry recalled how his therapist called him out for reverting back to his younger self in their second session, which at first made him feel "somewhat ashamed and defensive".

"That was the start of a learning journey for me. I became aware that I'd been living in a bubble within this family, within this institution and I was sort of almost trapped in a thought process or a mindset."

Harry on wife Meghan's own mental health struggles

Back in March, both Harry and his wife, Meghan, sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah in which the duchess opened up about her own mental health struggles.

Meghan said that she felt suicidal while pregnant with the couple's first child, son Archie, and had reached out to palace aides for help to no avail.

She spoke about attending a charity event at Royal Albert Hall immediately after she told her husband about her thoughts of self-harm.

"I'm somewhat ashamed of the way that I dealt with it…" Harry told Oprah.

"When my wife and I were in those chairs gripping each other's hand the moment the lights go down, Meghan starts crying, I'm feeling sorry for her but I'm also really angry with myself that we're stuck in this situation.

"I was ashamed that it got this bad. I was ashamed to go to my family because to be honest with you like a lot of other people my age could probably relate to, I know that I'm not going to get from my family what I need."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex hold hands while arriving at the Mountbatten Festival of Music at Royal Albert Hall on March 07, 2020 in London, England
Prince Harry recalled 'gripping' his wife Meghan Markle's hand at Royal Albert Hall on March 07, 2020. Photo: Getty Images.

Royal family told Harry to 'play the game'

Harry told Oprah that, when he realised he needed help and spoke up, members of the royal family told him to keep calm and carry on.

It was his mum Diana's courage that emboldened him to 'free himself' from 'the system'.

"Towards my late 20s I was starting to ask questions of, 'Should I really be here?' and that was when I suddenly started going, 'You can't keep hiding from this.'

"Family members have said, 'Just play the game and your life will be easier,' but I've got a hell of a lot of my mum in me.

"I feel as though I'm outside of the system, but I'm still stuck there. The only way to free yourself and break out is to tell the truth."

Charles' shock advice to his sons

Harry spoke about the lack of support he received from his family following Diana's death in 1997 when he was just 12 years old and his brother, William, was 15.

He described walking behind his mother's coffin alongside Will and their father, Prince Charles as an 'out of body experience'.

"I'm just walking along doing what was expected, showing one-tenth of the emotion everybody else was showing," he said.

He told Oprah how he was left alone to deal with the press storm that followed her passing and pointed out that his father's advice to his sons was to resign themselves to 'suffering'.

"My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I, 'Well it was like that for me so it’s going to be like that for you,'" Harry said.

"That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer, in fact, quite the opposite - if you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences you had, that you can make it right for your kids."

Prince Charles (R) with sons Harry (C) and William (L)
Former husband of Diana Prince Charles (R) and their two sons Harry (C) and William (L) wait in front of the Westminster Abbey in London after the funeral ceremony of Princess of Wales 06 September. WPA POOL / AFP PHOTO / AFP WPA POOL / JOEL ROBINE (Photo credit should read JOEL ROBINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Harry accuses royal family of 'total neglect'

Harry touched on the 'total neglect' on the part of the royal family that eventually drove him and Meghan to step down as senior royals and move to the US in January 2020.

Ever since they went public with their relationship back in 2016, the couple faced harassment, trolling and, on Meghan's part, racial abuse on social media. Harry described what happened when he attempted to flag this with The Firm.

"Every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, to stop just got met with total silence or total neglect," he said.

"We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job."

Prince Harry sits atop a spartan armoured vehicle on January 2, 2008 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Prince Harry (pictured in Afghanistan in 2008) said his 10 years in the army were the 'happiest of his life'. Photo: Getty Images.

Harry's 'happiest times' were in the army

Reflecting on his life so far, Harry said that the 'happiest times' were when he was in the army, which saw him rise to the rank of Captain and undertake two tours of Afghanistan.

"The happiest times of my life was the 10 years in the Army, without question," he said.

"Because I got to wear the same uniform as everybody else. I did all the same training as everybody else. I started from the bottom like everybody else. There was no special treatment because of who I was.

"That was what I thought was where I felt my most normal and actually within my younger years, the most comfortable I felt was out in Afghanistan, away from the media."

Mental health support for yourself or a loved one can be found by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 789 978, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.

Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

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