In this image provided by Apple, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, appears in a scene from “The Me You Can’t See.” (Apple via AP)

In this image provided by Apple, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, appears in a scene from “The Me You Can’t See.” (Apple via AP)

‘I was afraid’: Prince Harry reveals his journey with mental health

He describes instances of feeling helpless as a young boy while riding in the car with his mother, Princess Diana, who cried as they were surrounded by paparazzi

For Harry, returning to London to attend Prince Philip’s funeral last month meant once more facing a place where he felt trapped and hunted by cameras. It would be a test of his ability to cope with the anxiety that was bubbling up again.

“I was worried about it, I was afraid,” Harry told The Associated Press during a recent joint interview with Oprah Winfrey to promote a mental-health series they co-created and co-executive produced for Apple TV+.

He was able to work through any trepidation using coping skills learned in therapy.

“It definitely made it a lot easier, but the heart still pounds,” said Harry, the Duke of Sussex and grandson of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband Philip.

In “The Me You Can’t See,” which debuted Thursday night on Apple’s streaming service, Harry reveals that he first saw a therapist approximately four years ago at the encouragement of then-girlfriend Meghan. They’d had an argument and she recognized his anger seemed misplaced.

The series is another chapter in the unprecedented openness that Harry has brought to his life and his royal family relationships since stepping away from his duties and moving with his wife to California. In March, he and Meghan gave a headline-making interview to Winfrey that elicited a rare public response from the palace.

Harry’s self-work may be relatively recent but he and older brother William, The Duke of Cambridge, have long championed the importance of mental health. In 2016, Harry, William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, launched Heads Together, an initiative to speak up and not be ashamed to ask for help when mental well-being is at stake.

Their collective work led to interactions with people across the globe, from all walks of life, and they recognized a common thread. “Sharing your story in order to be able to save a life or help others is absolutely critical,” said Harry.

Harry is practicing what he preaches and laying bare his own struggles with trauma and grief. He describes in “The Me You Can’t See,” the instances of feeling helpless as a young boy while riding in the car with his mother, Princess Diana, who cried as they were surrounded by paparazzi and she struggled to drive.

Years later, Diana was killed in Paris after the car she and friend Dodi Fayed were riding in, crashed during a high-speed chase to flee cameras. Harry was 12 and suppressed his own feelings to meet the mourning public gathered outside Kensington Palace.

Cameras rolled and snapped away as he walked behind her casket to Diana’s funeral, alongside William, father Prince Charles, Philip and Diana’s brother Charles Spencer.

Harry’s revelations coincide with Queen Elizabeth’s official confirmation a few months ago that he and Meghan will not return to their senior royal positions within the family, following a one-year trial period.

The couple now lives about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles in an exclusive area near Santa Barbara called Montecito. They count Winfrey, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom as neighbors. The paparazzi still lurk but it’s less intense than in Los Angeles.

This new, outspoken prince who shares his emotions is a contrast to the “never complain, never explain,” “keep calm and carry on” mantras that are part of the prototypical British way.

The British tabloids have had a field day picking apart his statements. Some royal commentators have also cried foul over a contradiction between seeking a private life yet granting interviews and revealing family strife.

Harry appears to be cautious in choosing what he wants to speak about, and neither he nor Meghan seem interested in sharing their every move with the world. They do not operate a social media account.

He is undeterred by naysayers, he says, because there’s a greater good in being honest about his struggles. “I see it as a responsibility. I don’t find it hard to open up,” he said. “Knowing the impacts and the positive reaction that it has for so many people that also suffer, I do believe it’s a responsibility.”

Winfrey was already working with Apple to develop a series on mental health when a conversation with Harry sparked the idea to join forces.

“We were having a conversation and I asked him, ‘What are the two most important issues you think facing the world today?’ And he said immediately, ‘climate change and mental health.’”

She mentioned the project and Winfrey recalls him later saying, ‘Oh, by the way, if you ever need any help with that … give me a call.’ And I went and turned around and said, ‘What’s your number?’”

Winfrey’s existing partnership with Apple created a rare opportunity to reach the vast number of people who use the company’s devices, Harry said.

“If that’s in a billion pockets on a billion screens, then maybe we can really start a global conversation about this,” he said.

Winfrey said Harry pushed to present a global perspective. “This has got to be a world thing and not just a U.S. thing,’” she recounted him saying, adding: “I think we’ve accomplished that really well.”

Harry jokes he’s “slowly catching up” to Winfrey’s decades of inner-work and encouragement of others to do the same whether on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or her “Super Soul Sunday” interviews on OWN. Even Winfrey said she’s had a lot to learn.

“I have dealt personally with one of the girls from my school (Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa), who had schizophrenia,” Winfrey said. “Only after hearing the doctor say that ‘it’s a diagnosis. It’s not your life, it’s not who you are,’ that I had my great awakening about it. … ‘That is not you. You are a person who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia.’ That is powerful.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Royal family

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

(Black Press File Photo)
Sylvan Lake RCMP charge youth with weapons offences

The public helped to identify the individual involved in an incident at the pier earlier this month

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read