The Duke of Sussex revealed the deepest, darkest secrets when he opened up on "The Me You Can’t See" docuseries With Oprah Winfrey.
Losing a parent is not easy at any age but when it happens at a young age, and you are left without emotional support, it can devastating. It can also have life-long repercussions, just like Prince Harry experienced. The Duke of Sussex revealed the deepest, darkest secrets when he opened up on The Me You Can’t See docuseries With Oprah Winfrey.
He spoke about how he processed the death of his mom at a young age, and the revelations revealed the raw pain he felt. He didn't process the death of Princess Diana for years, he said, as per Elle.
"For many, many years, I didn’t even think about it," he said, referring to Diana's death when he was only 12 years old. Even as a young child, he used to feel helpless when his mom was chased and harassed by the paparazzi and the media. However, having left the trauma unaddressed only made it worse for him as he grew up. His mental health struggles only got worse.
He would get panic attacks and severe anxiety, and the ages between 28 to 32 were a "nightmare time" in his life. He confessed that he was willing to drink excessively and take drugs in order to not deal with his feelings, and he felt trapped in the royal family.
"I was just all over the place mentally," he said, according to BBC. "Every time I put a suit on and tie on... having to do the role, and go, 'right, game face,' look in the mirror and say, 'let's go'. Before I even left the house I was pouring with sweat. I was in fight or flight mode."
He revealed that he would drink a week's worth of alcohol on a Friday or Saturday night, "not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something."
The Duke of Sussex, despite being only 12, walked behind his mom's coffin during the funeral procession. "For me the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horses' hooves going along the Mall," he said. "It was like I was outside of my body and just walking along doing what was expected of me. Showing one-tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing: this was my mum - you never even met her," he said.
He revealed that he had little support from the royal family and they were unwilling to even speak about his mom's death. He was expected to "suffer" in silence. He said, "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.' 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."
Even now, at 36, he struggles, since going to London can be a "trigger" for him, as per Elle. "I wasn’t aware of it at the time when I was younger, but after I started doing therapy stuff I became aware of it," he said. "I was like, why do I feel so uncomfortable? And of course, for me, London is a trigger, unfortunately, because of what happened to my mum, and because of what I experienced and what I saw," he added.
The Duke of Sussex found happiness during his 10 years in the Army since he got no "special treatment" there. But, eventually had to leave it to be a senior royal. His family told him previously "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 am outside of the system - but I'm still stuck there. The only way to free yourself and break out is to tell the truth."
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by (L)WPA Pool (R) John Minihan