Prince Harry says growing up royal was mix of 'Truman Show' and 'being in a zoo'

Prince Harry says there are three moments when he had no control over his own life.

“That’s my biggest sort of Achilles heel — the three major times I felt completely helpless,” he told Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on the “Armchair Expert” podcast.

“One, when I was a kid in the back of the car with my mom being chased by paparazzi, two was in Afghanistan in an Apache helicopter and then the third one was with my wife. And those were the moments in my life where, yeah, feeling helpless hurts. It really hurts, and that’s when you think to yourself, ‘S—, like, I got the privilege. I got the platform. I got the influence, and even I can’t fix this. I can’t change this.'”

The Duke of Sussex, who has been open about the importance of mental health, also talked about how wife Meghan Markle helped him realize he needed therapy.

“It was a conversation that I had with my now-wife. And she saw it. She saw it straightaway. She could tell that I was hurting and that some of the stuff that was out of my control was making me really angry. It would make my blood boil.”

Harry said he was often irritated before Meghan came into his life because of how he was treated.

 Related:Prince Harry spoke with James Corden about why he and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, decided to break with the British royal family. "It was never walking away," Harry said.

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“For me, prior to meeting Meghan, it was very much a case of, certainly connected to the media, that anger and frustration of ‘this is so unjust.’ By the way, not just about me, but about all this stuff that I was seeing."

Harry also opened up about his "wild" days from his youth when Shepard was discussing his own struggles with addiction.

“There’s a reason for that,” Harry said. “And for you, it was your upbringing and everything that happened to you, the trauma, the pain, the suffering. All of a sudden you find yourself doing a s—load of drugs and partying hard.

“Look how many other people do that, as well. They wouldn’t necessarily have their awareness at the time. I certainly didn’t have the awareness when I was going wild. Like, ‘Why am I actually doing this?’ In the moment, it’s like, ‘Well, why not? I’m in my 20s. This is what I’m supposed to do, isn’t it?’”

Shepard said the fishbowl that Harry has lived in since birth is hard to comprehend, noting that his life is similar to “The Truman Show,” with the paparazzi covering his every move.

“A mix between ‘The Truman Show’ and being in a zoo,” the duke said.

“The biggest issue for me was that being born into it you inherit the risk, you inherit the risk that comes with it — you inherit every element of it without choice and because of the way that the UK media are, they feel an ownership over you" he added.

“Literally — like a full-on ownership — and then they give the impression to some, well most, of their readers that that is the case, but I think it’s a really dangerous place to be if you don’t have a choice. But then of course people, quite rightly, will turn around and go, 'So what if you didn’t have a choice? It was privilege.’”

Just because he’s a royal doesn’t mean he missed out on the minutiae of life, though. Harry said he went shopping with his mother.

“I definitely went shopping with her,” noting they only went a few times because they got “pounced on” by the paparazzi.

The supermarket was also the site of one of his early dates with the duchess. He said it was tough to remain out of the public eye.

“The first time that Meghan and I met up for her to come and stay with me, we met up in a supermarket in London, pretending that we didn't know each other, so (we were) texting each other from the other side of the aisles,” he said.

“There were people looking at me, giving me all these weird looks, and coming up and saying, ‘Hi,’ or whatever. I texted her saying, ‘Is this the right one?’ And she said, ‘No, you want parchment paper,’ and I'm like, ‘Where's the parchment paper?’ So, it was nice. I had a baseball cap on, looking down at the floor, don’t know how many times you’ve done that when walking down the street trying to stay incognito. It’s like, ‘Whoa, signpost! Oh, someone’s dog!’ It's amazing how much chewing gum you see. … It's a mess.”


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