The Duke of Sussex has appeared to criticise the way he was raised by Prince Charles, discussing the “genetic pain and suffering” in the royal family and stressing that he wanted to “break the cycle” for his children.
In a wide-ranging 90-minute interview, Prince Harry, who is expecting a daughter with Meghan and is already father to Archie, two, likened life in the royal family to a mix between being in The Truman Show and being in a zoo.
Speaking to the American actor Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast, Harry was promoting his new Apple TV+ series about mental health, The Me You Can’t See, with Oprah Winfrey, which launches next week.
Discussing his childhood, Harry said: “There is no blame. I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically.
“It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say: ‘You know what, that happened to me, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.’”
He said that in his 20s, he realised he did not want the royal “job”, having seen what it did to his mother, Princess Diana.
He said he had been forced to “grin and bear it”, but added: “I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve seen the business model, I know how this operation runs and how it works. I don’t want to be part of this.
“It’s a mix of being in The Truman Show and being in the zoo.”
The Truman Show is a 1998 satirical film starring Jim Carrey, where the main character becomes aware he is secretly the star of international hit reality TV show.
Harry also told how he started therapy following a conversation with his wife, Meghan, who “saw it straight away”.
“She could tell that I was hurting and that some of the stuff that was out of my control would make me really angry, it would make my blood boil.”
He said therapy had helped him “pluck his head out of the sand” and made him realise he needed to use his privileged position to help others.
Of Prince Charles, he said: “Suddenly I started to piece it together and go ‘OK, so this is where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this about his life, I also know that is connected to his parents so that means he’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids?’
“And well here I am, I moved my whole family to the US, that wasn’t the plan but sometimes you’ve got make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first.”
He added that Meghan, now knowing the life of a royal, would say: “You don’t need to be a princess, you can create the life that will be better than any princess.”
Harry also revealed that he met up with his future wife in a London supermarket in the early days of their relationship and the couple pretended not to know each other.
The duke said: “It was nice with a baseball cap on looking down at the floor, walking along the street and trying to stay incognito.”
He described the freedom he felt living in Los Angeles: “I can actually lift my head and I feel different, my shoulders have dropped, so have hers, you can walk around feeling a little bit more free, I can take Archie on the back of my bicycle, I would never have had the chance to do that.”
As the podcast was released, it emerged that Madame Tussauds had moved waxwork models of Harry and Meghan away from other members of the House of Windsor and placed them in the attraction’s Hollywood zone among waxworks of other celebrities.