By Mukwuzi Joseph
Prince Harry today blasted Prince Charles’ parenting as he poured his heart out to a US mental health podcast and said he moved to LA with his family to ‘break the cycle’ of ‘pain’ he suffered as a member of the Royal Family and needed to ‘change that for my own kids’.
The Duke of Sussex also admitted he first wanted to quit The Firm in his ‘early 20s’ because of ‘what it did to my mum’ and revealed that Meghan had encouraged him to have therapy and had herself now concluded: ‘You don’t need to be a princess’.
His extraordinary attack on the Royal Family, weeks after accusing them of racism towards Archie, came as he appeared on Dax Shepherd’s ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast to promote his Apple TV+ series with Oprah Winfrey, The Me You Can’t See, which premieres on Friday, May 21.
Harry, who is expecting a daughter with wife Meghan this summer and is already father to son Archie, aged two, suggested that Prince Charles had ‘suffered’ because of his upbringing by the Queen and Prince Philip, and that the Prince of Wales had then ‘treated me the way he was treated’, calling it ‘genetic pain’.
Harry, who appears to have developed an American twang to his British accent, said: ‘I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically.
‘It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say “you know what, that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you”.’
He added: ‘I never saw it, I never knew about it, and then suddenly I started to piece it together and go ‘OK, so this is where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this about his life, I also know that is connected to his parents so that means he’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids. And here I am, I moved my whole family to the US, that wasn’t the plan but sometimes you’ve got make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first.’
The Duke called royal life ‘a mixture between The Truman Show and being in a zoo’ and said he quit last year to put his family and mental health ‘first’. He also put ‘wild partying’ in his youth down to ‘childhood trauma’, having previously admitted experimenting with cannabis and drinking to excess, and joked about the time he played naked billiards at a party in Vegas.
During the 90-minute interview Mr Shepard, who is married to Frozen star Kristen Bell and spoke about his own addiction to smoking crack and alcohol, and Harry asked him what it was like to take a “s***load” of drugs when he was young after suffering sexual abuse as a child.
Harry asked him if he had “an awareness” whether his abuse of drink and cocaine was fuelled by his childhood, saying: ‘For you it was your upbringing and everything that happened to you – the trauma, pain and suffering. All of a sudden you find yourself doing a s***load of drugs and partying hard’.
The Duke described how he started therapy after Meghan ‘saw he was angry’, and when asked if he felt ‘in a cage’ while in royal duties, he said: ‘It’s the job right? Grin and bear it. Get on with it. I was in my early twenties and I was thinking I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum, how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family when I know it’s going to happen again’.
He added that his frame of mind was: ‘I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve seen the business model and seen how this whole thing works and I don’t want to be part of this’, before revealing he had therapy after meeting Meghan, which ‘burst’ a bubble and he decided to ‘stop complaining’.
He added: ‘So living here (in Los Angeles) now I can actually lift my head and I feel different, my shoulders have dropped, so have hers, you can walk around feeling a little bit more free, I can take Archie on the back of my bicycle, I would never have had the chance to do that.’
Baring his soul, 36-year-old Harry, who is currently living in his $14million Californian mansion with his wife and son, said he was born into extraordinary privilege but hinted that he believes this has changed since he quit with Meghan last year, comparing it to Oprah Winfrey’s humble beginnings. He said: ‘I truly believe you can move along the spectrum as well, wherever you were born you may start in one place but that will change over time’.
The prince also revealed his wife told him of her experience of royal life: ‘You don’t need to be a princess, you can create the life that will be better than any princess’, adding: ‘We got together and she was like ‘wow, this is very different to what my friends at the beginning said it would be’.’