Prince Harry Breaks Silence on the Backlash He Got For Explosive Tell-All
Prince Harry reveals how he's healing from trauma and how his wife Meghan Markle has helped.
After a highly publicized split from the British royal family, Prince Harry is telling his side of the story in his memoir Spare. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pulling no punches when it comes to sharing candid details about events that took place leading them to leave England and say goodbye to royal life. The relationship between the Sussexes and the rest of the British royal family has worsened over the years after their tell-all interview with Oprah, Netflix documentary series that doesn't hold back criticism of the royals and now Spare. But the couple are not stopping in sharing their truth, and in a sit-down intimate conversation with Dr. Gabor Maté, a trauma expert, on Saturday, Prince Harry opened up about a wide range of topics. Here are ten revelations that came to light.
I'm Not a Victim, He Says
There were many standout moments from the virtual event, including when Prince Harry insisted he's not a victim and wanted to be clear he's not looking for symphony regarding his family circumstances. "I certainly do not see myself as a victim. I'm really grateful to be able to share my story in the hope that it will help, empower, and encourage others and hopefully let people understand, that again back to the human experience that we all in some shape or form are all connected, especially through trauma. But no, I do not and I have never looked for sympathy in this. For me it's for me experiences that I've had throughout my childhood throughout my life through my 38 years, albeit relatively short, I'm not looking forward to becoming 40 that's for sure, but through those experiences and through the work that I've done for two decades now around mental health and mental illness, I've always felt as though sharing whatever I can of my story will help someone or some people out there."
Prince Harry was Against Therapy Because He Didn't Want to be "Cured" and Lose Feelings He Had for His Mum
The Duke of Sussex is an advocate and supporter of therapy, but there was a time he wasn't and shares the deeply personal reason why. "One of the things I was most scared about was losing the feeling that I had of my mum. I thought that if I went to therapy, it would cure me and I would lose whatever I had left, whatever I had managed to hold onto of my mother. Turns out that wasn't the case. I didn't lose that. It was the opposite. I turned what I thought was supposed to be sadness to try to prove to her that I missed her yeah into realizing that actually she just really wanted me to be happy. That was a huge weight off my chest."
Psychedelics Helped Deal with the Trauma of Losing His Mother
In Spare, Prince Harry wrote that psychedelics helped him define reality for himself. In his conservation with Dr. Maté he said, "It was the cleaning of the windshield, removal of life's filters. Just as much as on Instagram there's so many of these kids are like 11111 and just these layers of filters that removed it all for me. It brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a likeness that I managed to hold onto for a period of time but the moment that I'm back in the chaos it kind of then sort of dissipates. For me I started doing it recreationally and then started to realize how good it was for me. I would say that it is one of the fundamental parts of my life that changed me and helped me deal with the traumas and the pains of the past."
He went on to say, "They're unlocking so much of what we've suppressed, but you need to do it with a professional. You absolutely don't know what's going to come. Many of us have memories of abuse or trauma of our childhood. I would say 8-9 times out of 10 there's going to be something that pops up that surprises you and that you need some support there otherwise it's that's a lot of childhood suppressed stuff that comes out but the benefits are huge."
Prince Harry Never Got Physical Affection as a Child and Vows to Be a Different Father
In his explosive book, the Duke of Sussex details learning of his mother's tragic death, directly from his father, now King Charles. "You're alone in your room and your father comes in to tell you the news. He touches you on the knee I think, in an encouraging fashion and says 'It's going to be okay,' and walks out. And you're left on your own," Maté says of the moment. "And what struck me in that passage, as in so many other passages in the book, is the lack of touching. The lack of a child being held."
"What is it about the lack of holding and touching and cuddling, in this family, and it's obviously multi-generational, and how do you think that affects a young child, now that you're a father yourself, where does that leave a young child," the author of The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture asked the Prince.
"Well you're the professional, you can tell me," Prince Harry responded. "Where did it leave you," Maté clarified. "Where does it leave me? It leaves me in the position now as a father, with two kids of my own, making sure I smother them with love and affection. . . . Not smother them to the point where they're trying to get away, and I'm like, 'No come here, I need to hug you . . . ' but in the sense that, you know, I, as a father feel a huge responsibility to ensure that I don't pass on any traumas . . . or any I guess, negative experiences that I've had as a kid or as a man growing up, and that's work."
King Charles Was Bullied as a Kid
Dr. Maté revealed how King Charles was bullied as a kid and told the 38-year-old, "when I read your book . . .it was a story of deprivation. And I don't mean deprivation on the physical level. On the physical level, you're a scion of one of the richest families in the world and gilded with power and privilege. But if I think of a little child, who's born into a marriage where there is a lack of love between their parents, where there's conflict, where there is, again this is multigenerational, we're not blaming anybody, but when there is infidelity," he listed of the several tribulations the family endured when he was a child. "Where the father who clearly loves his kids, but he can't help but be emotionally distant, because that's how he was raised, where the father himself, this is Charles, was bullied mercilessly as a kid, where he was made fun of for his best qualities of sensitivity . . . and intellectual interest, where people are not held and hugged. You know, animals hug their kids," Maté continued. Prince Harry agreed, saying, "It's the first thing we do as parents when you have a child . . . skin-to-skin."
"Grateful" to Live in the States
In 2020, Prince Harry and Markle moved from England to Southern California, which he touched upon in the livestream event. "I am grateful to have been able to change my environment, which I fully appreciate that not everyone can do," he says of leaving his native country. The way that I understand it is, you can everyday try your best to make sure that you don't hold onto any traumas that you have as a parent, but if you're still stuck within the same environment, it kind of almost feels self-defeating." He later added, "We only know what we know, and for myself and for my wife, you know, we do the best that we can as parents. . . . And learning from our own pasts and then overlapping those mistakes, perhaps, and being able to grow together in order to be able to provide for our kids and to be able to break that cycle. I think that's so important. It's not easy. And we certainly didn't make friends in the process in the short term," he noted.
Vulnerability is Important and Helps Other People
Prince Harry shared how important vulnerability is and said, "Vulnerability helps so many other people. I've shared enough of my life–there's people that have shared things outside of my control, albeit true or false. But to be able to share things of my life that I think are important for other people, It feels good. But to me, it feels like an act of service. Vulnerability is so important. We can encourage other people to be vulnerable themselves to be able to have conversations with their own families, and conversations with themselves and acknowledge what has happened to them ,and then I think the world would be that place."
Prince Harry Credits Meghan Markle for Saving Him From a World He was "Stuck" In
Prince Harry shared how his wife has been a healing power for him and has helped him process his trauma. "My wife saved me. I was stuck in this world, and she was from a different world and helped draw me out of that. But none of the elements of my life now would have been possible without me seeing it for myself. It's almost impossible to change other people, but you have to start with changing yourself and allow that growth to happen. My partner is an exceptional human being and I'm eternally grateful for the wisdom and the space that she has been able to give me."
He continued to explain about a moment when he lost his temper and Markle didn't tolerate his behavior, which helped him work on aspects of his life. "I needed that push back," he stated. I needed that moment again, scared, scared of losing her. "It was a real moment because of the question that she asked. 'Is this because of how you were brought up or that you've experienced or seen or heard you know other people within your life speak to women like that?' It was like a light bulb moment. It was like wow! Yeah, that is where it comes from. It's not an excuse ,no no just understanding of how these things manifest themselves and how we and we how we are so much a product of our own upbringing and the two of us you know have had our own stuff you know with our families."
Had a "Crash Course" in Racism and Inequality
Prince Harry gave forthcoming details about how "naive" he was to racism and inequality. "I had a crash course and to experience what I experienced to experience what my wife then girlfriend then wife experience it has experience especially you know within the UK was was pretty shocking. I was surprised and I was quite naive. I think most people perhaps don't understand that the pain that it causes to an individual is huge. But then the pain that it causes to society is also huge–it's immense. For me I've made my own mistakes in the past, which I talk about and which I own. In a weird way, I'm grateful for those experiences because I had to take accountability for it. I had to grow from it and learn from it because I didn't know before I didn't know that I had this unconscious bias inside of me."
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Prince Harry Always Felt Different From His Family
The father of two said, "Certainly throughout my life, throughout my younger years, I always felt slightly different to the rest of my family. I felt strange being in this container, and I know that my mum felt the same. It makes sense to me — it didn't make sense at the time — I felt as though my body was in there, but my head was out, but sometimes it was vice-versa. The times that I ventured towards being myself, being my authentic true self, whether it was through media or family or whatever it was, it was almost like, 'Don't be yourself, come back to what you're expected to be,' if that makes sense."