Prince Harry has been Britain’s handsome heartthrob of a prince for years now. Often it seemed that the public’s perception of his drinking and partying led them to assume the prince was childish or immature, but it turns out Harry was dealing with some deep emotional issues of his own.
20 years ago, Prince Harry lost his mother, the revered Princess Diana. A then 12-year-old Prince Harry had to grow up quickly alongside his brother Prince William, being overwhelmed by the public eye and fascination with their late mother.
Breaking sharply with the royal tradition of maintaining a stoic silence about mental health, the 32-year old prince told The Daily Telegraph in an interview published Monday that he nearly suffered multiple emotional breakdowns since his mother’s death.
It was by far the most revealing and raw interview of Harry’s life and gives the public a much fuller view of Harry and the inner turmoil he suffered growing up in the public eye after losing his mother. He told the newspaper he “shut down” emotionally for nearly 20 years and had been “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.”
He describes a long, painful process of refusing to face his sense of loss, a process that only came to an end when he was in his late 20s and sought professional counseling to cope with the pressures and unhappiness.
“My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?” he said of his later years, periods in which he embarked on a successful military career but also occasionally attracted unwanted headlines, notably for being photograghed playing “strip pool” in Las Vegas.
He said he was pretending that life was great until he started counseling and faced his problems head-on.
“All of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with,” he said.
Alongside his brother Prince William and his sister-in-law the Dutchess of Cambridge, Harry has worked with a charity that promotes mental health.
Harry has credited counseling with helping him recover.
“I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else,” he said.
Harry is in a serious relationship with American actress Meghan Markle. It seems as though opening up has helped him immensely and he has been able to accomplish so many amazing things.
Mental health is a serious thing and it’s great that Prince Harry is opening up about his battles with mental health. Hopefully, this helps the many people who are out there hurting but not willing to come forward.