Prince Harry has admitted he turned to drink and drugs as he dealt with the trauma of his mother’s death later in life.
In the first instalments of his mental health documentary series with Oprah Winfrey, Harry said he used alcohol to “mask” his emotions.
The duke once again lambasted the parenting skills of the Prince of Wales, criticising his father for expecting his sons to endure the pressures of royal life, just as Charles has done, instead of protecting them.
Harry criticised his family, accusing them of “total neglect” when his wife Meghan was feeling suicidal amid harassment on social media.
And he laid bare his battles with panic attacks and severe anxiety, saying “so 28 to probably 32 was a nightmare time in my life”.
His comments are likely to increase the much publicised tensions within the royal family following Harry and Meghan’s interview with Winfrey.
During the first three episodes of Apple TV’s The Me You Can’t See, Harry told Winfrey about his substance abuse.
Hours before it aired, Harry joined his brother Prince William in criticising the BBC following an inquiry which concluded the broadcaster covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure his headline-making 1995 interview with their mother.
Harry told Winfrey: “I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.”
The duke 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”.
As a 17-year-old he was involved in under-age drinking and taking cannabis, with his father sending him to visit a rehabilitation clinic in southeast London to highlight the long-term dangers of drug use.
The duke also told Winfrey his family did not speak about Diana’s death and expected him to just deal with the resulting press attention and mental distress.
When asked how he was, Harry would tell people he was fine: “But I was just all over the place mentally, every time I put a suit on and tie on and having to do the role, and go, ‘right, game face’, look in the mirror and say, ‘let’s go’.
“Before I’d even left the house I was pouring with sweat… I was in fight or flight mode.
“Panic attacks, severe anxiety, and so 28 to probably 32 was a nightmare time in my life.”
He said that after marrying Meghan his attempts to get help from his family, following online trolling which was pushing her to the brink, were ignored.
He said: “Every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, to stop just got met with total silence or total neglect.”
Harry added: “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.”