Many will agree that it’s hard to relate to the Royal Family.
Closed off from the public – and, arguably, reality – we never really know what goes on behind palace doors. There’s a continual air of mystique surrounding them.
But, every so often, the mask slips and a member of the Royal Family opens up.
From self-harm, to battles with loneliness, loss and anger over the lack of privacy they all live with, Diana, Harry, Kate and Zara are among the royals who have proved that life as a member of Britain’s most famous family isn’t as polished as it might seem.
Harry’s 2016 statement about Meghan’s privacy
On 6 November 2016, Prince Harry shocked the world by releasing a statement protecting his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle.
The unprecedented move came on behalf of the prince from his communications secretary, and very strongly spoke of the ‘line crossed’ by the media over the ‘abuse’ and ‘harassment’ of the American actress.
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” the statement read. “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his.”
In another unprecedented, but woke, move, Harry’s older brother William released a follow-up statement. “The Duke of Cambridge absolutely understands the situation concerning privacy and supports the need for Prince Harry to support those closest to him,” it read.
The statement released by Prince Harry’s communications secretary, on the royal’s behalf:
Kate and William’s 2015 public letter addressing George and Charlotte’s safety
On 15 August 2015, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sent out a letter to leaders of the media industry, addressing the ‘paparazzi harassment’ of their then-two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
“Paparazzi photographers are going to increasingly extreme lengths to observe and monitor Prince George’s movements and covertly capture images of him to sell to the handful of international media titles still willing to pay for them,” the statement, issued by the couple’s communications secretary, read.
“One recent incident – just last week – was disturbing, but not at all uncommon. A photographer rented a car and parked in a discreet location outside a children’s play area. Already concealed by darkened windows, he took the added step of hanging sheets inside the vehicle and created a hide stocked with food and drinks to get him through a full day of surveillance, waiting in hope to capture images of Prince George. Police discovered him lying down in the boot of the vehicle attempting to shoot photos with a long lens through a small gap in his hide.”
A snapshot of the letter released to key members of the media on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge:
Zara’s 2018 interview about her miscarriages
In September 2018, Princess Anne’s daughter spoke openly to BBC Breakfast presenter Sally Nugent about her tragic miscarriages.
In the radio interview, the former Olympian revealed how suffering two miscarriages affected her and her relationship.
“I think that’s the hardest thing in our situation, is that everyone knew,” she said. “And very much when things like that happen, normally it’s just your family and friends, but unfortunately everyone knew about it.”
The Queen’s granddaughter spoke about the overwhelming support from the public and also addressed the difficulties fathers face following the loss of a baby.
“It’s very different for us because we’re carrying the child, but for guys I guess it’s kind of that helpless feeling, which must be incredibly high and horrible for them. At the end of the day they’ve still lost a child too.”
Harry admitting no one wants the crown in 2017
In a revealing interview in June 2017, the royal admitted there’s a reluctance to take on the responsibility of monarch in the Royal Family.
Speaking to Newsweek magazine, Harry said he longed to be something other than a prince.
“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”
Kate talking about the isolation of motherhood in 2017
While not an official statement or interview, the Duchess of Cambridge spoke to fellow mums during a meeting at the Global Academy in 2017, and admitted to feeling isolated after having her children.
“It is lonely at times and you do feel quite isolated, but actually so many other mothers are going through exactly what you are going through,'” the royal reportedly told the women, who co-founded an app called Mush that helps connect mothers.
Diana’s 1995 interview on self-harm, loneliness, bulimia and postnatal depression
Martin Bashir’s famous interview with the late Princess of Wales provided a huge amount of insight into Diana’s life and the Royal Family. During the lengthy BBC interview, Diana spoke of her post-natal depression, and the labels she was given in the royal household: ‘unstable’ and ‘unbalanced’.
She revealed she harmed herself in order to cope with the pressure she was under, telling Bashir: “I did inflict upon myself. I didn’t like myself, I was ashamed because I couldn’t cope with the pressures.”
The royal also admitted to struggling with bulimia.
“I had bulimia for a number of years. And that’s like a secret disease. You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low ebb, and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. You fill your stomach up four or five times a day – some do it more – and it gives you a feeling of comfort.”
You can read the full transcript here.
Harry’s 2017 podcast interview on seeking help 20 years after Diana’s death
As a champion for mental health, alongside his brother William and sister-in-law Kate, Prince Harry spoke openly about the impact of his mother’s death on him during an episode of the Telegraph‘s podcast ‘Mad World’.
Harry admitted he “shut down all his emotions” for almost two decades after Diana’s death – despite William trying to persuade him to seek help.
After revealing he started speaking to a mental health professional at the age of 28, he said he felt he was “on the verge of punching someone” and struggled with anxious feelings during royal engagements.
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