Prince Harry turned to drugs and alcohol to “mask” the pain he felt in his late 20s, a “nightmare time” in his life where he was also gripped with “severe anxiety and panic attacks”.
The 36-year-old royal – who has two-year-old son Archie with pregnant wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex – admitted he used partying as a way to escape his struggles, and carried on even when he wasn’t enjoying himself anymore.
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey for the Apple TV series, The Me You Can’t See, Harry also revealed he was willing to take drugs to “feel less like I was feeling” more than a decade after his mother’s untimely death.
“I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.
“But I slowly became aware that, okay, 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.
“And I would find myself drinking, not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something.”
Harry went on to reveal that he was actively discouraged from discussing his mental health as a child following the sudden death of his mother, which continued into adult life when he was “met with total silence and neglect” after wife Meghan Markle claimed she was feeling suicidal.
“Every time I put a suit and tie on… having to do the role, and go, ‘right, game face,’ look in the mirror and say, ‘let’s go’. Before I even left the house I was pouring with sweat. I was in fight or flight mode.”
He added that the way Meghan was feeling reminded him of his own mother’s final days. “History was repeating itself,” he said.
“’My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone who wasn’t white. And now look what’s happened. It’s incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life. Like, the list is growing. And it all comes back to the same people, the same business model, the same industry,” he said.
However, the Duke revealed that his now wife Meghan Markle helped him seek therapy almost four years ago and he has since come to terms with his mental health.