In 2017, Harry said William, not Meghan, encouraged therapy

In 2017, Harry said William, not Meghan, encouraged therapy

(L-R) Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a military fly-past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on July 10, 2018 . (OLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince Harry has received praise from fans and advocates for mental health by recently opening up to Oprah Winfrey about how he sought therapy to deal with his long repressed feelings of grief and anger, stemming from the 1997 death of his mother Princess Diana.

Harry, Kate and William. (Alistair Grant / AFP Getty) 

But Harry’s story about seeking therapy for his grief isn’t new. He’s also revised some key details since he first shared this information in 2017, possibly to fit the narrative of his new post-royal life in America with wife Meghan Markle.

Harry has apparently shifted his timeline for getting help. More questionable, he has totally excised his estranged brother Prince William from any role in urging him to get help. Harry has fully given that credit instead to Meghan.

By changing his story on this one issue, Harry has opened himself up to yet more criticism that he’s being less than genuine in his headline-grabbing interviews — and that he and Meghan are trying to build their global brand by having him continue to talk about his mother’s death and to describe the British monarchy as dysfunctional and indifferent to their mental health struggles.

“A lot of people are upset that Harry is conveniently erasing what he has said before and giving us this new narrative,” Vanity Fair royal correspondent Katie Nicholl has said, according to the Daily Express.

When talking to Winfrey for episode of “The Me You Can’t See,” their new Apple TV+ series on mental health, the 36-year-old Harry said he abused alcohol and drugs in his 20s because he had never processed his grief until 2017.

That’s when he said he began therapy because Meghan, the former TV actress he began dating in 2016, helped him to finally realize he needed professional help.

“It was meeting and being with Meghan,” the Duke of Sussex told Winfrey. “I knew that if I didn’t do therapy and fix myself, that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with.”

Harry said “there was anger there,” with regard to his past and his life in the royal family. “It was just anger,” Harry said. “And she recognized it. She saw it.”

But in 2017, Harry gave another widely disseminated interview, in which he said that his process of healing had begun two or three years before that — before he met Meghan.

During the interview for the U.K. mental health podcast “Mad World,” Harry, then 32, also said William had been the catalyst for him seeking help. He suggested that his healing, encouraged by William, had involved going to see a therapist.

“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” Harry said on the 2017 podcast discussion with host Bryony Gordon, a British journalist who has written about her own struggles with depression.

Harry said “three years” earlier — presumably around 2014 or 2015 — his brother, and other people around him, told him he needed to get help. “It’s not normal that nothing has affected you,” Harry said they told him.

“My brother, bless him, he was a huge support to me,” Harry added. He said William told him, “This not right, this is not normal you need to talk about this stuff and it’s OK.”

As with Winfrey, Harry told Gordon that his early- to mid-20s had been turbulent. But he told Gordon that he finally started to “find a path” in life at around age 28, continuing to the present time. He told Gordon that he felt he was in “a good place.”

“I think, it’s weird, because, fine, yes, I’m a prince. I have a house over my head. I have the security I need. I have a car, and I have a job that I absolutely love,” Harry continued. “Now, because of the process I’ve been through the last two-and-a-half to three years, I’ve been able to take my work seriously and my private life seriously as well.”

Harry’s “Mad World” interview was designed to promote his work on the Heads Together campaign to end stigma around mental illness. Harry famously launched the campaign with William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in 2016.

FEBRUARY 2018: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (not pictured) attend the first annual Royal Foundation Forum held at Aviva on February 28, 2018 in London, England. Under the theme ‘Making a Difference Together’, the event will showcase the programmes run or initiated by The Royal Foundation. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images) 

Harry and Meghan were supposed to work with William and Kate on Heads Together after she joined the royal family in 2018. But that partnership collapsed amid Harry and Meghan’s growing disenchantment with royal life and their decision to move to America.

Harry’s “Mad World” interview was widely praised at the time. The idea of a member of the British royal family opening up about getting mental health help was seen as almost revolutionary but incredibly valuable to normalizing discussions about mental illness.

“To have an advocate such as Prince Harry discussing so openly the impact of the death of his mother on his own mental health will make a huge difference to the way we discuss grief,” Sir Simon Charles Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, wrote in a commentary for the Telegraph at the time.

“I think that in just 25 minutes he has achieved more good than I have in 25 years,” Wessely said. “He’s an incredibly powerful role model and has a reach that we can only dream of.”

Harry clearly wants to continue to be that kind of role model, given his collaboration with Winfrey on “The Me You Can’t See.” But the Daily Express reported that royal experts in the U.K. said Harry could undermine his cause by offering a shifting account, which appears to be less than honest and designed to erase William’s contributions — or to even hurt his brother.

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