It’s been a long, tortuous road for Prince Harry from his troubled youth to the handsome, open young dad currently wowing the world on his tour of South Africa with wife Megan are baby son Archie.
Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, was 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in a Paris tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997.
He spent much of the following two decades — through the conspiracy theories, endless investigations and royal family turmoil — remaining mostly silent about her death.
He went to war in Afghanistan and watched his older brother marry.
Then in his late 20s, Harry crumbled, the prince told the Daily Telegraph newspaper in a recent, revealing interview that lent “unprecedented insight into his past.”
At royal engagements, Harry found himself overcome by a “flight or fight” sensation. The prince felt angry, he told the Telegraph, as if he were “on the verge of punching someone.” But he didn’t understand what was causing the eruptions.
“I just couldn’t put my finger on it,” Harry told the Telegraph. “I just didn’t know what was wrong with me.”
It wasn’t until he began speaking with friends and family, then a therapist, that Harry realized it was the unattended, unresolved grief of losing his mother so young that was possibly crippling him.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years,” Harry said, “has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well.”
Now it is time to give back, with Harry teaming with American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey on a series for Apple TV+ with the focus on mental health.
The Duke of Sussex and Winfrey will work alongside each other as co-creators and executive producers on the project, which is due for release next year, with the goal of highlighting the “human spirit fighting back from the darkest places.”
Harry said that once he realized the impact that sharing his own struggles had on people, he wanted to give others a chance to tell their stories, too — to help anyone who may be suffering silently.
“What I have learned and continue to learn in the space of mental health, mental illness, and self-awareness is that all roads lead back to our mental well-being how we look after ourselves and each other,” Harry said.
“If the viewers can relate to the pain and perhaps the experience, then it could save lives, as we will focus on prevention and positive outcomes,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
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