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Confessions, criticisms and clarity: The key moments from Prince Harry's new documentary.

Warning: The following deals with suicide and may be triggering for some readers.

Apple TV+'s new documentary series, The Me You Can't See, introduces its subjects with simple, white, block letters. RASHAD. FAWZI. ZAK. HARRY.

'Harry' is precisely who the British royal has always wanted to be. Not Prince Harry. Not His Royal Highness. Just Harry.

Having stepped back from his role as a senior working royal in early 2020, the 36-year-old is relishing his new independent identity, using his freedom from the Palace to speak publicly about mental health. 

Watch: The Me You Can't See shows the new Harry.


Video via Apple TV+.

Through various interviews, we've had an unprecedented glimpse into his struggles, his trauma, and that of his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with whom he now lives in California with their young son, Archie. (They are expecting a second child, due some time in winter.)

There was the couple's tell-all interview with Oprah back in March, Harry's recent episode of the Armchair Expert podcast, and now this: a five-part series produced by Harry and Oprah featuring discussions about mental health and emotional wellbeing, which features everyone from Lady Gaga to a Syrian refugee.

Harry's story runs throughout and treads similar ground to his previous interviews. But there are some never-before-public insights into the man once at the core of a famously private institution.

Here are some of the key moments of his appearance.

Harry's lasting memory of his mother, Princess Diana.

Much of Harry's portion of the series delves into the trauma caused by the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997, when Harry was just 12 years old.

Reflecting on his memories of Diana, Harry told Oprah Winfrey that the same one comes to mind over and over. 

"Strapped in the car, seatbelt across, with my brother in the car as well, and my mother being chased by three, four, five mopeds with paparazzi on. She was always unable to drive because of the tears. There was no protection," he said.

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"One of the feelings that comes up with me always is the helplessness. Being too young, being a guy but being too young to help a woman, in this case, your mother. And that happened every single day."

As a child, Harry felt unable to talk about his mother's death.

Harry said he didn't process his mother's death properly at the time. In fact, he actively ignored it for several years.

"[I told myself] what's the point in thinking about something sad, what's the point in thinking about someone you've lost and are never going to get back? And I just decided not to talk about it," he said.

"I wasn't in an environment where it was encouraged to talk about it either. That was, kind of, squashed."

Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997. Image: Getty. 

The most comfortable Harry felt was in a war zone.

Harry said the happiest times of his young life were the 10 years he spent in the armed forces.

"Because I wore the same uniform as everybody else, I had to do the same training as everybody else, I started from the bottom like everybody else. There was no special treatment because of who I was," he said.

"That was where I felt my most normal. And actually within my younger years, the most comfortable I ever felt was actually out in Afghanistan, away from the media."

The "nightmare time" in Harry's adult life.

While the outside world saw a composed young man shaking hands, cutting ribbons, small-talking with members of the public, Harry claims his early adulthood was a time of immense internal struggle.

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The sound of camera shutters and shouting media brought back those memories of his childhood, of his mother being hounded and chased.

"I was just all over the place mentally," he said. "Every time I put a suit and tie on, having to do the role... before I'd even left the house I was pouring with sweat, my heart rate [rose]... I was in fight-or-flight mode. Panic attacks, severe anxiety."

From the ages of 28 to 32, he said, he tried to mask it through substance abuse. It's a period he described as "a nightmare time in my life".

"I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling," he said. "I wasn't drinking Monday to Friday, but I'd probably drink a week's worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night."

It was around that time that confronting thoughts entered his mind.

"I was starting to ask questions of, 'Should I really be here?'" he said. "And that was when I suddenly started going, 'You can't keep hiding from this.'"

The moment Harry realised he needed therapy.

It wasn't until he met his now-wife that Harry accepted that he needed to seek ongoing, professional help for his mental health; something he'd never felt supported to do before.

The pain he'd carried for years had been manifesting as anger and, following an argument, Meghan told him he ought to "see someone".

"I knew that if I didn't do therapy and fix myself, I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with," he said.

He's now been in counselling for more than four years. 

Harry feels shame over his reaction to Meghan's mental health crisis.

As revealed in the couple's previous Oprah interview, Harry wasn't the only one struggling with his mental health. Amid the public and media scrutiny and lack of agency that came with her new life as a royal, Meghan began experiencing suicidal thoughts. 

She confided in her husband on January 16, 2019. She was six months pregnant.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at an event, just hours after the Duchess of Sussex shared her mental health struggles with her husband. Image: Getty.  

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"I'm somewhat ashamed of the way that I dealt with it," Harry said on The Me You Can't See. "We had a quick cuddle and then we had to get changed, had to jump into a convoy with a police escort and drive to the Royal Albert Hall for a charity event. And then step out into a wall of cameras and pretend as though everything's okay.

"There wasn't an option to say, 'Tonight, we're not going to go.' Because just imagine the stories that come from that."

Harry's criticism of his father, Prince Charles.

During the series, Harry reiterated that he and Meghan felt unsupported by his family during their mental health struggles. He said they were "met with total silence or total neglect", that he was encouraged to simply "play the game" with the press.

"My father used to say to me when I was younger — he used to say to both William and [me] — 'Well it was like that for me, so it's going to be like that for you.' 

"That doesn't make sense! Just because you suffered, that 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, you can make it right for your kids."

Why Harry is speaking out.

Harry said he is determined to break that cycle, to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself; for him and his wife, and for his son.

It's famously why they made the decision to leave their roles behind for a new life in the United States, where Meghan was born and raised. It was a case of prioritising their mental health over their obligations to the Crown. 

"That was one of the biggest reasons to leave," he said. "Feeling trapped and feeling controlled through fear, both by the media and by the system itself, which never encouraged the talking about this kind of trauma. But certainly now, I will never be bullied into this kind of silence."

He added, "Family members have said, 'Play the game and your life will be easier.' But I've got a hell of a lot of my mum in me.

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"I feel like I'm outside of the system but I'm still stuck there. The only way to free yourself and break out is to tell the truth."

One of Archie's first words was about Diana.

Harry says that thanks to therapy, he now feels comfortable in his skin, never experiences panic attacks, and has a clarity of perspective that he never thought he'd enjoy.

He also said that he has never felt his mother's presence more than he has in the past year. He believes that she would be "incredibly proud" of him, because he's living the life she wanted for herself – and for him.

"I wish she could have met Meghan, I wish she was around for Archie," he said.

"I've got a photo up in his nursery and one of the first words he said, apart from 'mumma' and 'pappa', it was 'grandma'. Grandma Diana. It's the sweetest thing, but at the same time, it makes me really sad. Because she should be here."

The Me You Can't See is available to watch on Apple TV+ now.


If you think you may be experiencing a mental health problem, support is available. Please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 to speak to a trained crisis supporter.


Feature Image: Apple TV/Getty/Mamamia.

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