Oprah Winfrey discusses her new show featuring Prince Harry
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Harry has candidly discussed his own wishes to leave the Royal Family in a new podcast episode, Armchair Expert, with Dax Shepard, to promote his upcoming mental health series on Apple. He compared being a royal to being an animal trapped in a zoo, or to being on the Truman Show. But, the Duke of Sussex suggested attending therapy, after being encouraged by Meghan, was the solution and helped “the bubble burst”.
While her husband had access to that support system, the Duchess of Sussex recently claimed she could not get any help during her two years as a working royal.
In her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey back in March, Meghan explained how she started to feel suicidal due to the pressures and scrutiny that come with being part of the Firm.
She said: “I went to the institution and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help.
“I said, ‘I’ve never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere’.
“And I was told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
This was one of the most shocking revelations of the whole interview, and cast the Palace in a deeply unflattering light.
She continued: “I went to human resources and I said, ‘I just really — I need help’.
“Because in my old job, there was a union and they would protect me.
“And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday, because they said, ‘My heart goes out to you because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution.”
She concluded: “Nothing was ever done so we had to find a solution.”
Harry then told Oprah he was “ashamed of admitting” Meghan’s struggles to his family members.
He claimed the family’s mentality was: “This is just how it is. This is how it’s meant to be. You can’t change it, we’ve all been through it.”
Yet, Harry paired up with Kate and William to promote their HeadsTogether campaign back in 2017.
The three broke royal tradition and shattered the “stiff upper lip” mantra associated with royal life by revealing their own deeply personal struggles with mental health.
Harry even said it was William who encouraged him to seek professional help, and discussed his resolved trauma having lost his mother at just 12 years old.
Despite seeking this help during his Twenties, Harry told Armchair Expert that the moment which led to therapy was a conversation he had with Meghan — whom he met when he was 31.
He said: “She saw it, she saw it straight away, she could tell that I was hurting.
“And some of the stuff that was out of my control was making me really angry. And it would make my blood boil.”
He then pointed to the three poignant occasions in his life when he felt “helpless”, which pushed him to seek help: when Princess Diana was being chased by paparazzi and he was in the car; in Afghanistan in an Apache helicopter; and when he had that conversation with Meghan.
He also said he had been working on himself “for the last five years”, which started in therapy.
Harry explained: “Once I started doing therapy it was like the bubble burst.
“I plucked my head out of the sand and gave it a good shake off and I was like, you’re in this position of privilege, stop complaining and stop thinking you want something different — make this different — because you can’t get out.”
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This would suggest Harry was attending therapy throughout his relationship with Meghan — and yet she was not able to find the same support.
Harry is also not the first royal to speak out about seeking therapy.
Princess Diana said during her 1995 BBC Panorama interview that she “received a great deal of treatment, but I knew in myself that actually what I needed was space and time to adapt to all the different roles that had come my way”.
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, championed seeking therapy back in 2017.
She said: “If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor.
“Getting help with our mental health is no different. Our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need.”
William spoke about his own “tipping point” when he was working with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, and has since worked to encourage men in particular to open up about their internal struggles.
He said: “There may be a time and a place for the stiff upper lip, but not at the expense of your health.”
Kate’s brother James Middleton also told The Telegraph that every member of his family had attended therapy with him.
He said: “That was so important because that helped them understand me and how my mind was working.”
Princess Margaret is said to have sought therapy for depression after her divorce from Antony Armstrong-Jones in the late Seventies.
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