Prince Harry Sometimes Wished He Wasn’t a Prince, According to Author

Prince Harry has been in the spotlight his entire life. Although his life as a royal family member seemed charmed, he admits there were parts that weren’t so glamorous. A royal expert says when Prince Harry was younger, he revealed there were times he didn’t want to be a prince.

Prince Harry sometimes wanted a regular life

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend the 2017 Invictus Games.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

According to Katie Nicholl in her book The New Royals, royal life was sometimes tough for Prince Harry. Although his life looked perfect from the outside, there were things the royal longed to experience.

Nicholl says when Prince Harry was younger, he confided in her about wanting a regular life. She says he told her that he sometimes wished he wasn’t a prince. He also reportedly wanted to have the experience of taking public transportation and going out for coffee.

Although Prince Harry had moments when he wondered what a regular life would be like, Nicholl says he also recognized how much good he could do through his public platform. One example she mentions is Prince Harry’s Invictus Games.

Prince Harry once said he felt ‘trapped’

During a 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry discusses his feelings about being part of the royal family. He says he felt “trapped within the system” of royal life. He credits his wife, Meghan Markle, with helping him step away from his role as a senior royal and living life on his own terms.

According to Prince Harry, the rest of his family is also “trapped” in this system. “My father and my brother; they are trapped,” Prince Harry tells Winfrey. “They don’t get to leave; and I have huge compassion for that.”

Prince Harry opened up about experiencing anxiety

Prince Harry says public life hasn’t been easy for him. He admitted to having feelings of anxiety linked to his life in the spotlight and the death of his mother, Princess Diana. He says members of his family told him life would be easier if he just played along and did as he was told.

“Family members have said, ‘Just play the game and your life will be easier,’” says Prince Harry during an Apple TV+ docuseries titled The Me You Can’t See. “But I’ve got a hell of a lot of my mom in me.”

Prince Harry says his late 20s and early 30s were difficult. The stress of public life began to weigh heavily on him. “Twenty-eight to probably 32 was a nightmare time in my life,” says Harry during the docuseries. “I’m freaking out every single time I jumped in the car and every single time I see a camera.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sit together during a visit to Sydney, Australia.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Phil Noble – Pool/Getty Images
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Prince Harry says the presence of cameras made him uneasy. “I would just start sweating,” he tells Winfrey, who executive-produced the series and interviewed him. He admits he numbed his pain with alcohol. “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 reveals.

The Duke of Sussex made a change after he realized he was drinking a lot. “I slowly became aware that I wasn’t drinking Monday to Friday, but I would probably drink a week’s worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night,” he says. “And I would find myself drinking not because I was enjoying it, but because I was trying to mask something.”

Harry says Meghan encouraged him to seek therapy. According to him, he knew he needed to “heal himself” from the past.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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