Prince Harry isn’t finished with spilling royal tea in interviews with Oprah Winfrey. On Friday, three months after he and his wife Meghan Markle opened up to the iconic TV host, Apple TV+ premiered his and Winfrey’s docuseries The Me You Can’t See, which finds Harry, in shocking length, discussing mental health. Such a series of reveals isn’t without precedent; Harry’s own mother, the late Princess Diana, shocked the world (and especially the royals) when she sat down with the BBC’s Martin Bashir in 1995, two years before the royal’s untimely death.
There’s one key difference between Harry and Diana’s actions. Bashir tricked the latter into opening up by forging bank statements so it appeared that several royals were being paid to spy on her, as a second inquiry confirmed this week. That Harry is apparently speaking freely out of his own will makes his reveals all the more notable—including his choices of what not to discuss. (His fraught relationships with his brother and father, Princes William and Charles, appearantly among them.) Here, a recap of all the Duke of Sussex divulged.
On why he thinks Meghan is still alive:
Meghan first told Harry that she was feeling suicidal and already considering the logistics of her own death in 2019, taking him completely by surprise. According to him, what stopped her was “how unfair it would be on me after everything that had happened to my mum and to now be put into a position of losing another woman in my life, with a baby inside of her, our baby.” (Meghan was six months pregnant at the time.) “The scariest thing for her was her clarity of thought. She hadn’t lost it, she wasn’t crazy, she wasn’t self-medicating, be it through pills or through alcohol, she was absolutely sober. She was completely sane, yet in the quiet of night, these thoughts woke her up.”
Harry isn’t proud of his reaction after they spoke, ahead of a charity event at Royal Albert Hall. “Because of the system we were in and the responsibilities and the duties that we had, we had a quick cuddle,” he said. “And then we had to get changed and jump in a convoy with a police escort. There wasn’t an option to say, ‘you know what, tonight, we’re not going to go.’” They succeeded—with difficulty: “While my wife and I were in those chairs gripping each other’s hand, the moment the lights go down, Meghan starts crying. I’m feeling sorry for her but I’m also really angry with myself that we’re stuck in this situation.”
“Within the first eight days of our relationship being made public was when they said, ‘Harry’s girl almost straight outta Compton’,” Harry recalled. And that her exotic DNA will be thickening the royal blood.” After years of getting “followed, photographed, chased, harassed,” the clicking of cameras makes his “blood boil,” reminding him of his mom.
On his own mental health:
After an argument four years ago in which he “reverted back to 12-year-old Harry,” at Meghan’s advice, Harry started getting therapy. It’s something he previously had never felt he was “in an environment where it was encouraged to talk about it,” or even needed,” specifically to “heal [him]self from the past.” He had, however, tried (and failed) a few times before. “I saw all sorts of people, but it was meeting and being with Meghan. I knew that if I didn’t do the therapy and fix myself, that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with.”
On his substance abuse:
Harry spent the “nightmare time” of his twenties and early thirties riddled with anxiety, and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. He was “willing to drink, willing to take drugs, I was willing to do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling,” the Duke of Sussex recalled. “But I slowly became aware that, okay, I wasn’t drinking Monday to Friday but I would probably drink a week’s worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night. And I was finding myself drinking not because I was enjoying it, but because I was trying to mask something.”
On the one time he felt “normal”:
“Without question,” Harry said, the decade he spent as a soldier and later army captain in Afghanistan was his “happiest time.” For one thing, he was away from the media. “I got to wear the same uniform as everybody else, I had to do all the same training as everybody else, I started from the bottom like everybody else. There was no special treatment because of who I was.”
On how he thinks Diana would feel today:
Harry has repeatedly praised his mom over the two-and-a-half decades since her death, when he was just 12. He had also told Winfrey that it’s thanks to Diana that he and Meghan have been able to stay financially afloat since stepping back from their duties as senior royals.
There’s one image, Harry continued, he’s always associated with his mother: “strapped in the car, seatbelt across, with my brother in the car as well, and my mother driving, being chased by three, four, five mopeds with paparazzi on, and she was always unable to drive because of tears,” he said. “There was no protection.”
Diana’s funeral was particularly difficult for Harry, who was just 12 when his mom died. “Sharing the grief of my mother’s death with the world...,” he said. “It was like I was outside of my body and just walking along, doing what was expected of me, showing one tenth of the emotion everybody else was showing. I was like, this is my mum. You never even met her.”
On the royals’ reactions to Diana’s death:
“No one was talking about it,” Harry said. “I was so angry with what happened to her and the fact that there was no justice at all. Nothing came from that. The same people who chased her into the tunnel, photographed her dying in the backseat of that car.”
The reticence carried over to his and Meghan’s own struggles: “I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect.” Along with feeling trapped and controlled by the media and “the system,” they came to regard their son Archie, whose skin tone was allegedly a concern of at least one senior royal, as one of their “biggest reasons to leave. I then had a son, who I’d far rather be solely focused on, rather than every time I look in his eyes wondering whether my wife is going to end up like my mother and I’m gonna have to look after him myself.”
On Archie’s first words:
Archie, it seems, shares the love. “I got a photo of Diana in his nursery, and it was one of the first words that he said,” Harry told Winfrey. “Apart from ‘mama,’ ‘papa,’ it was then ‘grandma.’ Grandma Diana. It’s the sweetest thing, but at the same time, it makes me really sad because she should be here. I wish she could’ve met Meghan. I wish she was around for Archie.” (On a lighter note, the two-year-old’s vocabulary has since expanded to include the word “crocodile.”)