Prince Harry needs a break and he needs to break this narrative of self-pity


THE six-week hiatus Harry and Meghan are taking from the, er, slog of royal duties cant come soon enough. Not least because the rest of us could do with a break from the perpetual woe is me narrative.

We get it. Meghan is struggling with life as a new mother (who doesnt?) and the global attention that comes with joining the The Firm. And Harry wants to protect her.

Harry and Meghan’s latest complaints seemed poorly timed and worryingly self-indulgent
Harry needs to take a break from public life before he unravels even further

But their latest complaints seemed poorly timed and worryingly self-indulgent. How else can you describe the royal couple seeing impoverished young African girls learning to box so they can fight off sexual predators, then using air time to address their First World problems with the media?

The same media, I might add, that was praising Meghans obvious intelligence and charm and had hitherto featured glowing reports from their first official overseas tour together.

Prince William is reportedly worried about his brothers state of mind, and after watching the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, one could only agree and conclude that were seeing a man teetering on the edge.

The rampant paranoia, the relentless victim narrative and a tendency towards the dramatic are all perhaps signs that Harry does indeed need to take a break from public life before he unravels even further.

But during that respite, he must surely seek specialist help and ask himself this: Is his obvious angst really just down to the media occasionally writing inconvenient truths about his wifes fractured family and questioning the couples obvious hypocrisy at using private jets while preaching about climate change?

OR is it the result of unresolved issues surrounding his mother Dianas untimely death? My moneys on the latter, not least because Harrys escalating rhetoric around the safety of my family rang alarm bells with me.

As a child, my husband witnessed the accidental death of his 18-month- old brother and was put in the ambulance with his screaming mother. When he was 21, his 53-year- old father died suddenly at home during an afternoon nap.


Both were deeply traumatic events that, by the time we met in 1998, he thought hed dealt with. But, in late 2003, the birth of our daughter triggered a delayed response and he became riven with anxiety that something might happen to her.

He developed the now resolved habit of what psychiatrists might refer to as catastrophising where, in his mind, a cut finger would escalate to potential sepsis and, likeHarry, the safety of my familywas an oft repeated mantra to try toquash rational debate.

Put simply, he felt a loss of control over what happened to his brother and father, which then manifested itself in a disproportionately dramatic reaction to even the simplest of lifes problems and an inability to see past them.

So I can only wonder whether the birth of his son Archie has triggered the same powerful reaction in Harry, who admits he thought he was out of the woods with his mental health, but suddenly it all came back.?

It would certainly explain his tears at the recent WellChild Awards, where his speech centred on his and Meghans feelings since having a (perfectly healthy) child rather than focusing on the stories of those being celebrated.

And it was the safety of my family he used to explain the use of private jets when, just a few days later, William and Kate the future King and Queen of Britain quietly boarded a commercial flight to Scotland with their kids and the difference in attitudes was there for all to see.


Both William and Harry suffered the untimely loss of their mother and wrongly, to my mind faced the intolerable pressure of having to walk behind her coffin while the world looked on.

BUT as William has clearly learned to function around the trauma and get on with his life in a mature and rational way, Harry still seems troubled, angry and prone to irrational outbursts.

I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum, he declared to interviewer and friend Tom Bradby.

The tragic sequence of events that led to the death of his mother were going to the Paris Ritz with an international playboy, deciding to leave the safety of their hotel suite at midnight when they knew there were motorbike paps outside, unwittingly getting into a car driven by someone well over the drink-drive limit and not wearing a seatbelt.

So yes, the paparazzi followed the car (as seasoned media handler Diana knew they would) and, in an ideal world, they wouldnt have.

But a French inquiry cleared the bikes of involvement in the crash and, in the real world, anyone famous knows that if you dont want to be papped you live your life accordingly by maintaining a low profile and avoiding celebrity hang-outs.


The Cambridges know that living a quiet, unremarkable life is the greatest antidote to unwanted media attention but also accept that the trade-off for the privilege life of being royal is that, occasionally, there will be off message stories and opinions they dont like.

On the South Africa tour, tetchy Prince Harry behaved like an entitled elite when he chastised Skys invited royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills for asking him a perfectly anodyne question about his visit.

Later, while reporting from William and Kates hugely successful tour of Pakistan, Rhiannon praised the Cambridges for their regular and friendly interactions with the media.

She observes that they clearly understand that official duty for Queen and country come first.

Compare it with the tone of the end of Prince Harry and Meghans tour a few weeks ago and you couldnt have a bigger contrast, she adds. Harry had made it all about them by releasing a statement announcing legal action against The Mail on Sunday and criticising the Press.

EQUALLY, its worth noting that, like Meghan, Kate also had to adapt to royal life and, despite being mum to three young children, has never publicly complained about her lot.


Probably because she understands that there are millions of people in the country with far worse problems and without the support network or finances to cushion the blow.

Thats a rational outlook but, right now, Harry is clearly locked in a victim narrative where the nasty Press hunted his mother to her death and even the mildest criticism of him or his wife is taken as bullying behaviour that threatens their very existence.

I feel sympathy for him, but only he can change that self-pitying narrative, with his wifes support. Unfortunately, unlike Kate, Meghan doesnt have a close-knit family around her and, judging by what she said in the same documentary, may be enabling rather than calming his paranoia.

She said her British friends had warned her off marrying Harry because the British tabloids will destroy your life. Really? Or did they rightly just advise that the Press attention would be several notches higher than shed been used to? Particularly as she has a rather off- message family?

Equally, her claim that the US doesnt have tabloids is patent nonsense. It has loads and they have all covered the Thomas Markle debacle with gusto. And as for the suggestion that not many people have asked if shes OK, who can get close enough to even ask that question?

Certainly not the poor man at Wimbledon who got ticked off by Meghans people for trying to take a photo of her when he was actually taking a selfie.

No, its definitely time for a period of rest and, hopefully, reflection. And if, at the end of it, they decide to step away from royal life and live as private citizens, then we wish them nothing but the best.

The royal couple met impoverished young African girls learning to box so they can fight off sexual predators – and then used air time to address their First World problems with the media
Harry still seems troubled, angry and prone to irrational outbursts, seen here with friend and journalist Tom Bradby
Like Meghan, Kate also had to adapt to royal life and, despite being mum to three young children, has never publicly complained about her lot
The Cambridges have been praised for their regular and friendly interactions with the media