Memoirs of Mental Health: Prince Harry

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Though I don’t tend to follow the royal family, I became more interested when Meghan Markle, an actress from one of my favorite shows, Suits, got engaged to Prince Harry. More recently, I’ve seen how their lives have been shaped by racism and anxiety, which ultimately culminated in the couple separating from the royal family. Today, I’ll be sharing some insights on mental health based on Prince Harry’s participation in the Docuseries, The Me you Can’t See.

I was five years old when Princess Diana and her partner died in that tragic car accident in ’97 and I remember being confused as to the significance. Prince Harry was twelve at that time and only now in adulthood have I considered the impact that this trauma must have had on Harry. In the docuseries, he shares that he suppressed his grief for years because that’s what was expected of him.

“Pain that is not transformed gets transmitted.”

Until watching The Me you Can’t See, I had no idea of the magnitude of racism (Diana’s partner was Egyptian) and subsequent harassment that she and her children faced in the years leading up to the crash. More chilling, is how history seemed to be repeating itself when Harry married Meghan (who is biracial) and the tabloids began preying on them just as they had with his mother, no doubt causing flashbacks. It’s well known that Princess Diana struggled with anxiety and depression, so imagine how triggering it must have been for Harry when at six months pregnant, Meghan presented with suicidal ideation as a result of the toxic environment in London. Getting his family out of there was truly a matter of life and death.

“I was in fight or flight mode. Panic attacks, severe anxiety, and from [age] 28 to probably 32, was a nightmare time in my life.”

Harry shares how following his mother’s death, the expectation by those around him was simply to “get over it.”

“Family members have said, ‘Just play the game and your life will be easier […] I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.”

As a therapist, I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about creating boundaries when dealing with toxic family dynamics so it was no surprise to me that Harry struggled with establishing boundaries within the royal context. He shares in the documentary how this led to burnout, feelings of isolation, and mental health challenges.

“I was ashamed to go to my family because, to be honest with you, like a lot of other people my age can relate to, I know that I’m not going to get from my family what I need […] Just as much as we focus on our physical health, so should we be focused on our mental health.”

Therapy and EMDR

Prince Harry’s vulnerability in discussing his own mental health journey will no doubt encourage a lot of people to seek help. In the docuseries, he discusses how he began therapy after meeting Meghan; more specifically, he gained awareness that his unresolved trauma could and would destroy their relationship if he didn’t seek help. He’s been in therapy for the past 5 years.

As an EMDR therapist, I was thrilled to see that Harry allowed the cameras to capture a telehealth EMDR session that he had with his therapist. In that session, the therapist uses EMDR to process some of Harry’s anxieties as it pertains to flying home to London.


For more information on EMDR therapy, check out my EMDR Landing Page.

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2 thoughts on “Memoirs of Mental Health: Prince Harry”

  1. Ashley says:

    That’s great that he was willing to show what an EMDR session looks like.

    1. Johnzelle says:

      Indeed! I’ve been sending that clip to clients nervous about starting emdr

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