NEW YORK (AP) – For Harry, returning to London to attend Prince Philip’s funeral last month once again meant facing a place where he felt trapped and stalked 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 scared,” Harry told The Associated Press in a recent joint interview with Oprah Winfrey to promote a mental health series they co-created and co-created. -produced for Apple TV +.
He was able to overcome any apprehension using the coping skills learned in therapy.
“It certainly made things a lot easier, but the heart is still beating,” said Harry, the Duke of Sussex and grandson of British Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband Philip.
In “The me you can’t see” who debuted Thursday night on Apple’s streaming service, Harry reveals he first saw a therapist about four years ago under the encouragement of his then-girlfriend Meghan. They had argued and she admitted that her anger seemed out of place.
Harry’s personal work may be relatively recent, but he and his 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 around the world, from all walks of life, and they recognized a common thread. “Sharing your story so that you can save a life or help others is absolutely essential,” said Harry.
Harry practices what he preaches and lays bare his own struggles with trauma and grief. He describes in “The Me You Can’t See” the examples of feeling helpless as a young boy as he drove in the car with his mother, Princess Diana, who cried as they were surrounded by paparazzi and that she had difficulty driving.
Years later, Diana was killed in Paris after the car she and her friend Dodi Fayed were in crashed during a high-speed chase to escape the cameras. Harry was 12 and suppressed his own feelings to meet the grieving audience gathered outside Kensington Palace.
Cameras rolled and turned away as he walked behind his casket for Diana’s funeral, alongside William, father Prince Charles, Philip and Diana’s brother Charles Spencer.
Harry’s revelations coincide with official confirmation from Queen Elizabeth a few months ago that he and Meghan will not be returning to their senior royal posts within the family, after a one-year trial period.
The couple now live about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles in an exclusive neighborhood near Santa Barbara called Montecito. They count Winfrey, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom as neighbors. The paparazzi are still in hiding, but it’s less intense than in Los Angeles.
This new outspoken prince who shares his emotions is in contrast to the mantras “never complain, never explain”, “keep calm and carry on” which are part of the prototypical British way.
British tabloids have had a day in the field to separate his statements. Some royal commentators have also screamed scandal over a contradiction between seeking privacy while granting interviews and exposing family disputes.
Harry seems to be careful about what he wants to talk about, and neither he nor Meghan seems interested in sharing their every move with the world. They do not operate a social media account.
He is not discouraged by opponents, he says, because there is a greater good in being honest about his struggles. “I see this as a responsibility. I have no trouble opening up, “he said.” Knowing the impacts and the positive reaction this has for so many people who are also suffering, I think it is a responsibility.
Winfrey was already working with Apple to develop a series on mental health when a conversation with Harry sparked the idea of joining forces.
“We were having a conversation and I asked him, ‘What are the two most important issues facing the world today?’ And he immediately said: “climate change and mental health”. She mentioned the project and Winfrey later remembers him saying, “Oh, by the way, if you ever need help with that… call me.” And I went and I turned around and I said, ‘What’s your number?’ “
The existing partnership between Winfrey and Apple has created a rare opportunity to reach the vast numbers of people who use the company’s devices, Harry said.
“If it’s in a billion pockets on a billion screens, then maybe we can really start a global conversation about it,” he said.
Winfrey recalls some of her own childhood traumas in “The Me You Can’t See”. In addition to stories of her and Harry, the series also features tales of ordinary people and celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Glenn Close, who speak candidly about their own experiences with mental illness.
Winfrey said Harry pushed for presenting a global perspective. “It has to be a global thing and not just an American thing,” she told him, adding, “I think we did this very well.”
Harry jokes that he’s “slowly catching up” for decades of Winfrey’s inner work and encouraging others to do the same whether it’s on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” or her “Super Soul Sunday” interviews on OWN. Even Winfrey said she had a lot to learn.
“I personally dealt with one of the girls at my school (Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa), who suffered from schizophrenia,” Winfrey said. “It was only after hearing the doctor say that ‘this is a diagnosis. It’s not your life. , that’s not who you are, “that I had my big wake-up call about it. …” It’s not you. You are a person who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. “It’s powerful.”
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