Prince Harry is telling his story in his own words. His docuseries with Oprah Winfrey, The Me You Can't See, hits Apple TV+ on May 21, and Prince Harry gets extremely candid while discussing his struggles with his mental health. He goes all the way back to his mother Princess Diana's death when he was just 12 years old, recounting how he felt at her funeral and how he coped with her loss well into adulthood.
He revealed that for years after her untimely passing, he stuck his "head in the sand" and lied, saying that he was "fine" because it was the "easy answer." However, he was anything but fine, explaining that he was "all over the place mentally" and that his anxiety before attending royal engagements was through the roof. "Before I even left the house, I was pouring with sweat and my heart raced," he said. "I was in a fight-or-flight mode. Panic attacks, severe anxiety. And from 28 to probably 32 was a nightmare time in my life."
"I would just start sweating," he continued. "I would feel as though my body temperature was two or three degrees warmer than everybody else in the room. I would convince myself that my face was bright red, and therefore, everybody could see how I was feeling but no one would know why. So, it was embarrassing. You get in your head about it. And then you're just like, 'Everybody is looking at me.' One bead of sweat feels like the whole face is pouring down."
For Harry, drugs and alcohol became a coping mechanism for his extreme anxiety. "I was willing to drink. I was willing to take drugs," he said. "I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling. But I slowly became aware that, OK, 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 would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it, but because I was trying to mask something." Still, he didn't recognize these behaviors as a mask for years. "[It] was my brain telling me that I'm in a fight," he said. "I never knew that. Why would I know that?"
Harry revealed that he found some solace during his time in the British Army, but he was still running from his problems instead of facing them. "Towards my late 20s, I was starting to ask questions of should I really be here? And that was when I suddenly started going, 'You can't keep hiding from this,'" he revealed. "Family members have said, 'Just play the game and your life will be easier.' But I've got a hell of a lot of my mum in me. I feel as though I'm outside of the system, but I'm still stuck there."
"For me, the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horses' hooves going along The Mall, the red brick road," he recalled of the funeral when he and his brother, Prince William, walked behind their mother's casket. "By this point, both of us were in shock. 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 that everybody else was showing."
Harry also admitted that while he understood the public outpouring of grief on behalf of his beloved mum, he still thought "this is my mum. You never even met her." He also expressed his anger over the entire situation surrounding what happened to Diana and "the fact that there was no justice at all" after her death. "Nothing came from that," he said. "The same people that chased her into the tunnel photographed her dying on the backseat of that car."
While the common narrative is that his relationship with Meghan Markle was the trigger for Harry to step away from the Royal Family, his issues with that life clearly started years before. Ultimately, therapy helped him reach the healthier place that he's in today. "The only way to free yourself and break out," he said, "is to tell the truth." The Me You Can't See is available to stream on Apple TV+ on May 21.