Prince Harry has accused the royal family of “total neglect” and declared he will not be “bullied into silence” in his new mental health documentary series with Oprah Winfrey.
In the Apple+ series entitled The Me You Can’t See, which launched on Friday, Prince Harry expanded on claims made in the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah in March that his family turned a blind eye to their mental health needs.
With attacks levelled at the Sussexes online and seeing his wife go through depression after the birth of their son Archie, Harry said “I thought my family would help”.
“But every single ask, request, warning, whatever, it is just got met with total silence, total neglect,” he told Winfrey.
During the first three episodes, Harry addressed traumatic memories from his childhood, including the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and harassment on social media of he and his wife Meghan.
Harry said he feared he would lose Meghan like he lost his mother.
“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.
“But Meghan was struggling.” And so, too, was Harry.
After four years of working with his therapist, he learned that he “never processed” the death of his mother and that those feelings were “coming up in different ways as projection.”
Harry said he was unable to process his grief because his family did not speak about Diana’s death and expected him to just deal with the resulting press attention and mental distress.
The release of the series came a day after an inquiry into the BBC’s 1995 interview with Diana found journalist Martin Bashir lied and used deceitful methods to gain access to the late royal.
The duke said he wanted to “break the cycle” of “genetic pain and suffering” for the sake of his own children.
He said of Charles: “He’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids?”
“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.”
The 36-year-old said his family told him to “play the game” and life would improve.
But he objected, telling Winfrey: “I’ve got a hell of a lot of my mum in me.
“The only way to free yourself and break out is to tell the truth.”
Harry told Winfrey he would “never be bullied into silence” in the future.
He said he did not go to his family when Meghan felt suicidal because he was ashamed the situation had got “that bad” and also suspected the royals would not have been able to help.
The duke said: “That was one of the biggest reasons to leave, feeling trapped and feeling controlled through fear, both by the media and by the system itself which never encouraged the talking about this kind of trauma.
“Certainly now I will never be bullied into silence.”
The documentary series will focus on mental illness and mental wellness and aims to inspire viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges people face and how to equip themselves with the tools to thrive.
Hours before it aired, Harry joined his brother William in criticising the BBC following an inquiry which found the broadcaster covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure his headline-making 1995 interview with their mother.