Prince Harry used alcohol and drugs to ‘mask’ feelings after his mother’s death

·2-min read
Prince Harry in Apple TV+’s The Me You Can’t See (Apple TV+)
Prince Harry in Apple TV+’s The Me You Can’t See (Apple TV+)

The Duke of Sussex has revealed that he used alcohol and drugs to cope with the loss of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Appearing in his documentary series about mental health, The Me You Can’t See, with Oprah Winfrey, Harry opened up about his own issues and coming to terms with them.

In the first episode, Harry tells the American chat-show host about the years following the death of Princess Diana in Paris in 1997.

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Harry, who was 12 when his mother died, said: “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.

“But I slowly became aware that, OK, 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.”

Harry said he found himself not drinking out of enjoyment but “because I was trying to mask something… [I was] completely unaware of it”.

The 36-year-old, who now lives in California with his wife Meghan and son Archie, said he found his brain was “telling [me] that I’m in a fight”.

The duke described the ages “28 to 32” as a “nightmare”. “From freaking out every single time I jumped in the car and every single time I see a camera - I would just start sweating.

“I would feel as though my body temperature was two or three degrees warmer than everybody else in the room. I would convince myself that my face was bright red and therefore, everybody could see how I was feeling, but no one would know why, so that was embarrassing.”

In later episodes he says that he eventually dealt with anxiety and panic attacks by seeking therapy on the recommendation of his wife.

Prince Harry and Meghan last appeared on screen with Winfrey when during an explosive interview they revealed that Meghan had experienced suicidal thoughts while living in the UK as part of the royal family.

In response, Buckingham Palace issued a statement, saying: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning.

“While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.”

Alcoholics Anonymous helpline is open 24/7 on 0800 9177 650. If you would prefer, you can also email them at or live chat via their website at Drinkline, a free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm).

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