opinion

Prince Harry may be profiting from his story. But so are we.

This post deals with mental health and might be triggering for some readers.

A moment of silence for comment moderators. 

They've been sifting their way through an especially divisive year of content, what with pandemic-related policies, political scandal, and reignited geopolitical conflicts. 

Then, out of nowhere, comes a surprise inclusion: Prince Harry goes on the telly to explain why he and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, ditched their royal duties and started their new Californian existence (replete with rescue chickens and walks on the beach).

Watch: 'The Me You Can't See' features Prince Harry among its many stories of mental health.


Video via Apple TV.

Believe it or not, it's become one of the most engaged-with news stories of 2021 so far.

Comments on online articles and social media are thick with debate about the virtues of the royal's decision to regale his experience for the cameras. Three times. The first being a light-touch interview on The Late, Late Show with James Cordon; the second, the March tell-all with Oprah Winfrey; and now, the recently released Apple TV mental health documentary series, The Me You Can't See on which he and Winfrey serve as executive producers.

Across the two programs, Harry spoke about some of the key challenges he faced across his life as a working royal: the trauma caused by the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana; his struggles with unresolved mental health conditions (which he said manifested as drug and alcohol abuse, anger, anxiety during public events, and more); his helplessness in the face of the tabloid media's pursual of his mother and wife; and the lack of support he and Meghan received from the palace and his family when she told them she was suicidal.

Harry sees truth telling as a long-term solution to the hurt and the silence, a way of preventing it from reverberating through future generations of his family. As he said in The Me You Can't See, "If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that, whatever negative experiences you had, you can make it right for your kids."

But in laying all this — and much more — bare, he's angered many. 

Listen: Should Prince Harry go easier on his father? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after podcast.

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Critics see a man publicly shaming his family, alienating them, and profiting from the process.

And they're right. He is likely to profit from these interviews. Albeit indirectly. 

Neither he nor Meghan received a paycheck for the original Oprah interview, and it's unclear if the same applies for The Me You Can't See. But since moving to the States, the couple has established a production company and signed multi-million-dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify. And with all the sustained attention on them, other brands are almost certain to be circling.

And yes, the division in his family is truly sad, particularly that between him and his brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.

But any hurt or anger is theirs to feel. Not ours. 

Setting aside the second-hand outrage, looking at the real-world consequences for the average person, these interviews are far less contentious than the comments sections would suggest.

What have his interviews meant for us? They've meant that we see a high-profile man on the television talking openly about mental health, highlighting the complexities of it. A man sharing some of the insights he's gained from confronting his trauma and anxiety, showing precisely what undergoing EMDR therapy (as he did on The Me You Can't See) looks like, and chipping away at stigma that keeps people in silent suffering.

Surely, we're richer for it?


If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. For immediate support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.


Feature image: Apple TV/Mamamia.

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