Prince Harry's mental health series: 6 shocking revelations, from drug abuse to anxiety attacks

Duke of Sussex lays it all out in a five-part Apple +docuseries 'The Me You Can't See'

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)
Powered by automated translation

Prince Harry is not holding back on his feelings about his family, including his father, in a new five-part documentary series that premiered on Apple TV+ on Friday.

In The Me You Can't See, co-produced by Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey, the former royal sits down with the media mogul for an emotional talk about mental health. In it, the Duke of Sussex stresses that his family turned a blind eye to the struggles of his wife Meghan Markle, and says he will "never be bullied into silence".

Prince Harry also speaks about how his mother Princess Diana's death in 1997 pushed him to drugs and alcohol "to numb the pain".

Watch the trailer for Prince Harry's mental health documentary

Watch the trailer for Prince Harry's mental health documentary
Watch the trailer for Prince Harry's mental health documentary

The series comes out a day after the release of an independent inquiry in Britain that found that BBC journalist Martin Bashir used falsified documents to land a sensational 1995 sit-down with Diana, in which she detailed her troubled marriage to Prince Charles.

Here are six shocking revelations from The Me You Can't See:

He abused drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of his mother's death 

Britain's Princess Diana and son Prince Harry during a Heads of State Ceremony in Hyde Park, in London, Britain, May 7, 1995. Picture taken May 7, 1995  REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Prince Harry, 36, who has spoken before about the trauma of losing Diana in a Paris car crash and then having to walk as a 12-year-old behind his mother's coffin in her funeral cortege under the glare of the world's media, says he abused alcohol and drugs to numb the pain of losing his mother.

"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," he tells Winfrey. "I would probably drink a week's worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night and I would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something."

The loss of his mother accentuated fears about his own wife Meghan when she grappled with suicidal thoughts, although he says the British royal family neglected them both.

He suffered from panic attacks and anxiety in his 20s 

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 02, 2021 Co-Chair Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrives onstage to speak during the taping of the "Vax Live" fundraising concert at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. In a new documentary series set for release May 21, 2021 Prince Harry is once again emphasizing that his family turned a blind eye to the struggles of his wife Meghan Markle, saying he will "never be bullied into silence." / AFP / VALERIE MACON

Harry says he buried his feelings for many years and still freaks out when he sees cameras.

"I was so angry with what happened to her [Diana] and the fact there was no justice at all ... the same people that chased her through that tunnel photographed her dying on the back seat of that car," he says.

"The clicking of cameras, and the flash of cameras makes my blood boil. It makes me angry. It takes me back to what happened to my mum, what I experienced as a kid."

He felt helpless he couldn't help his mother Diana

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 06, 1997 (L-R) Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Britain's Prince William, Earl Spencer, Britain's Prince Harry and Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, to Westminster Abbey in London for her funeral service.   Princes William and Harry hit out at the BBC and journalist Martin Bashir over "the deceitful way" Bashir obtained his explosive TV interview with Princess Diana, their late mother, in which she detailed her troubled marriage to Prince Charles. / AFP / POOL / JEFF J MITCHELL

In the documentary, Harry speaks of walking behind Diana's coffin through the streets of London with his brother Prince William, father Prince Charles and uncle Earl Charles Spencer.

"The thing I remember most was the sound of the horses' hooves going along the Mall," he says. "It was like I was outside of my body, just walking along, doing what was expected of me, showing one tenth of the emotion that everyone was showing."

Years earlier, he recalled sitting in the back of his mother's car while she, in tears, was pursued by photographers.

"One of the feelings that comes up for me always is the helplessness. Being a guy and being too young to help a woman, in this case your mother, and that happened every single day," he says.

He reiterates his family lacks empathy 

This official christening photograph released by the Duke and Duchess shows Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex with their son, Archie and the Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Ms Doria Ragland, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, near London, Britain July 6, 2019. Chris Allerton/Pool via REUTERS   NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. NO MERCHANDISING, ADVERTISING, SOUVENIRS, MEMORABILIA or COLOURABLY SIMILAR. NOT FOR USE AFTER AFTER 31 DECEMBER, 2019 WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION FROM ROYAL COMMUNICATIONS. NO CROPPING. Copyright in this photograph is vested in The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. No charge should be made for the supply, release or publication of the photograph. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form and must include all of the individuals in the photograph when published.

The British royal family turned a blind eye to his and Meghan's mental health struggles, Prince Harry says.

"I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect," he says, singling out his father.

"My father used to say to me when I was younger, to both William and I: '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 that 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 that you had, you can make it right for your kids," Prince Harry says.

He was scared to attend his grandfather's funeral 

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:  Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence walk behind The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin, covered with His Royal Highness’s Personal Standard, during the Ceremonial Procession during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Mark Large-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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, Prince Harry says. 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 while promoting The Me You Can't See.

He was able to work through any trepidation using coping skills learnt in therapy. "It definitely made it a lot easier, but the heart still pounds," he says.

Meghan helped him realise the importance of mental health

ASNI, MOROCCO - FEBRUARY 24:   Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch students play football during their visit to Lycée Qualifiant Grand Atlas, the local secondary school on February 24, 2019 in Asni, Morocco.  (Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Harry also details his experience with therapy, saying it has "equipped me to be able to take on anything" and especially helped him cope with the death of his mother when he was 12.

"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," he says, also saying that being with Meghan helped him realise the importance of mental health.

He says he began serious therapy about five years ago.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who announced in January 2020 that they would quit frontline royal duties, have relocated to California, where Meghan is from.

– 'The Me You Can't See' is now streaming on Apple TV+. Additional reporting by Reuters, AP and AFP 


Read more: