LONDON – Prince Harry has accused the British royal family of ‘total neglect’ and revealed he turned to drink and drugs years after the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
The Duke of Sussex made the comments as he spoke again about his mental health to US media mogul Oprah Winfrey in a new interview released on Friday.
The couple delve into Harry’s personal life – from his trauma following his mother’s death to his experience with therapy and the recent royal feuds.
“I felt completely helpless,” he said, speaking of the press review he and his wife Meghan faced. “I thought my family would help – but every request, every request, every warning, whatever it is, is met with complete silence or complete neglect.
NBC News has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.
Download the NBC News app for the latest news and politics
The revelations feature in a new executive for the documentary series produced by Harry and Winfrey, “The Me You Can’t See,” which arrives Friday on Apple TV +.
Harry said he hoped speaking up would help ease the social stigma surrounding mental health.
The last time Harry and Winfrey spoke – alongside Meghan – it sent shockwaves from Los Angeles to Buckingham Palace. Harry and Meghan moved to the United States last year after breaking royal duties.
In this March interview, the couple stunned millions of viewers with allegations of royal racism – denied by the palace – while Meghan also spoke publicly about how royal life and media pressure led her to suicidal thoughts.
For Harry, this bore clear echoes of his mother’s plight.
“The clicking of cameras and the flash of cameras make my blood boil. It makes me angry. It brings me back to what happened to my mother, what I went through as a child, ”Harry tells Oprah in the documentary.
“I was so angry with what had happened to her and the fact that there was no justice at all… The same people who chased her through that tunnel photographed her dying in the backseat of this car.
Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 when Harry was 12.
He says his father, Prince Charles, told him following Diana’s death that media attention and being part of the institution was something he had to get used to.
” That does not make sense. It is not because you have suffered that your children have to suffer. In fact, quite the contrary, ”Harry said in the documentary. “Isn’t this about breaking the cycle?” He adds.
Even now, at 36, Harry said returning to London earlier this year for the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip made him tense and anxious.
In the five-part documentary series, Harry is seen undergoing a form of therapy known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to treat unresolved anxiety resulting from his anger with the media and the death of his mother.
Diana made world headlines in a 1995 bombshell interview with the BBC in which she told journalist Martin Bashir “there were three of us in this marriage”, referring to her husband Prince Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
An independent report released Thursday after a months-long investigation found that Bashir had acted inappropriately and violated the state-funded broadcaster’s editorial guidelines in order to gain access to Diana.
Reacting Thursday night, Harry and his brother Prince William lobbied for higher standards in the news media after the report revealed that the BBC had acted to cover up the journalist’s “deceptive behavior”.
Bashir then worked for MSNBC. He and the BBC apologized after the report was released, although Bashir noted that Diana said she had no regrets about the interview.
William said it brought her “indescribable sadness” to know that the lies presented to her mother contributed to “the fear, paranoia and isolation” that plagued Diana in the years before her death.
The documentary also sees Harry telling Oprah that as an adult he has occasionally turned to alcohol and drug abuse.
“I was ready to drink, I was ready to take drugs, I was ready to try and do things that made me feel less how I felt,” he said. “Not because I liked it, but because I was trying to cover something up,” he added.
He also talks about seeing a therapist for the first time around four years ago under the encouragement of Meghan. They had argued and she admitted that her anger seemed out of place, he said.
The documentary includes contributions from 14 health experts and is intended to have global reach.
Other celebrities have been on the show, including actress Glenn Close and singer Lady Gaga, as well as Syrian refugees and others who have suffered mental trauma.
Winfrey also talks about her childhood, which saw her flogged by her grandmother, asleep on an outside porch by her mother, and raped by a cousin when she was nine.
Telling her story was crucial to her ability to process it, she said.