Prince Harry has had the uniquely unpleasant experience of watching two important women in his life be emotionally decimated by the scrutiny and paparazzi attention that came with being a member of the royal family: first, his mother Princess Diana, whom he lost at the age of 12, and then wife Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, whose mental health got to such a bad place she was contemplating suicide before they decided to leave royal life behind. In new Apple TV+ series The Me You Can’t See, co-created by Harry and Oprah Winfrey, the prince opens up about the unique feeling of helplessness that overtook him when he would see Meghan break down from the pressures created by the Firm — and the memory he has as a young boy of seeing Diana break down and cry for the same reasons.
For Harry, whose mom Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris caused by paparazzi chasing their vehicle, his memories of Diana’s terror when out in public are inseparable from his memories of her as a mother.
”Unfortunately, when I think about my mum, the first thing that comes to mind is always the same one, over and over again,” he tells Oprah in The Me You Can’t See. “Strapped in the car, seatbelt across, with my brother in the car as well, and my mother driving, being chased by 3, 4, 5 mopeds with paparazzi on, and she was always unable to drive because of tears. There was no protection.”
Prince Harry's drinking and drug use earned him a party boy reputation, but the truth of what was going on breaks our hearts.https://t.co/0kvTavawiF
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) May 21, 2021
After deciding not only to leave the royal family but to go public about their reasons for it this past March, Harry and Meghan found themselves at the heart of similarly frenzied media attention — and Harry admits that the negative press leading up to their interview with Oprah airing got to Meghan more than he’d let on before, and that seeing her like that broke his heart all over again.
“Before the Oprah interview had aired, because of their headlines and that combined effort of The Firm and the media to smear her, I was woken up in the middle of the night to her [Meghan] crying in her pillow — because she doesn’t want to wake me up because I’m already carrying too much,” he said. “That’s heartbreaking. I held her. We talked. She cried and she cried and she cried.”
The parallels are perfectly clear to Harry, and the fact that his mother’s story with the royals ended in her death has made him take this all the more seriously.
“It’s incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life,” he said. “Like the list is growing, and it all comes back to the same people, the same business model — the same industry.”
Click here to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.