Prince Harry has revealed that he resorted to using alcohol and drugs to cope with the pain caused by his mother’s death.
He spoke about the situation with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in their new streaming series on mental health. The Duke of Sussex also mentioned the royal family’s unwillingness to talk about the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and how they expected him to suffer in silence.
Princess Diana died in August 1997 after suffering a car accident while being chased by photographers.
Speaking to Winfrey for the Apple TV + series “The Me You Can’t See”, the 36-year-old prince said he suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks, also mentioning his “biggest regret” and his experience at his mother’s funeral. Harry described being aged 28 to 32 as “a nightmare time in my life.”
“I was just all over the place mentally,” he said.
“Every time I put a suit on and tie on… having to do the role, and go, ‘right, game face,’ look in the mirror and say, ‘let’s go’. Before I even left the house I was pouring with sweat. I was in fight or flight mode,” Harry added.
“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 went on.
The duke confessed that he would drink the equivalent of a week’s worth of alcohol on a Friday or Saturday night “not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something.” Harry also told Winfrey that his family did not discuss his mother’s death, expecting him to deal with the press’s attention and mental anguish.
“My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I: ‘Well it was like that for me so it’s going to be like that for you’,” he said.
“That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered 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 you had, that you can make it right for your kids,” he added.
Harry told the TV host his biggest regret was “not making more of a stance earlier on in my relationship with my wife, calling out the racism when I did.”
“History was repeating itself. My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that was not white-and now look what’s happened,” he said and added that they were “not gonna stop until she dies.”
Harry has campaigned to normalize discussions about mental health, and recently he began to speak in detail about his personal and royal experiences.