A new interview with Prince Harry sheds light on a bad habit he’s struggling to kick.
Say what you will about Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, but the man has some pretty impressive discipline.
Not so long ago, no Mayfair nightclub, members club or two-bit boozer had truly succeeded until Harry was photographed by the paparazzi stumbling, dragging or jostling his way out of doors said establishment in the wee hours, looking decidedly worse for wear.
For years, Harry had to do what Princess Anne was to a good 16-hand filly – perpetually and irrevocably drawn.
And yet, just last week, when he was in the Netherlands for the last Invictus Games, his hugely successful sports championship for injured veterans and serving personnel, he was in town with the guys and, get ready, had a beer. One. UN. Well.
In fact, according to the owner of the O’Casey Irish bar where this shocking scene took place, he sat over a pint for three hours and refused the free shots of tequila.
Then again, these days, Harry has become the poster child for clean living after swapping his beer-drinking ways for meditation, matcha, and Maya Angelou quotes.
But he still has one particularly bad habit which, if anything, has only gotten worse since he and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex left the royal ranks and took it to the US a while ago. two years.
He seems unable to resist the rewriting of history.
We got the last glimpse of this particular peccadillo this week when he was interviewed by Silicon Valley investor Reid Hoffman for his podcast. Ladder Masters. Harry was there in his guise as BetterUp’s Chief Impact Officer, a job that makes up for in sound bites what he lacks in detail.
At one point, Hoffman told listeners that when it came to ‘improving mental health outcomes’ in the UK, ‘sometimes it was an uphill battle’.
Harry agreed, saying that when it came to the US versus Britain, “the cultural differences, they are huge”.
“You talk about it here in California, ‘I’m going to have my therapist call your therapist.’ Whereas in the UK it’s like “Therapist? What therapist? What therapist? I don’t have a therapist. No, definitely not, I’ve never spoken to a therapist.
First, let’s pause here briefly and marvel at his inability to pass up any opportunity to put the boot in his homeland.
After spending the past two years giving what feels like an unbroken procession of interviews, the man is media trained within an inch of his ubiquitous gray polo shirt. That is to say, he could have easily answered this question without making the British look like an entire island of emotionally constipated and psychologically repressed individuals.
However, the biggest problem here is its propensity to reframe and reshape the past.
Now, of course, Britons have a reputation for being very wary of these things called “emotions,” but in 2016, when Harry and William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched their mental health initiative Heads Together, the response was wall to wall. favorable press coverage.
Same when, the same year, he appeared on journalist and mental health advocate Bryony Gordon’s podcast and revealed that he had come “very close to complete breakdown on numerous occasions” and sought advice on the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Not only his compatriots, but the media responded with what amounted to a collective, national hug.
Of course there are differences in attitude between Montecito and Milton Keynes, but as far as I can tell there hasn’t been a skerrick of public rejection to any of Harry’s work on destigmatizing health mental.
I’m not sure the overly positive and supportive reception quite matches his characterization. (What did Harry want the UK to do? For the government to provide free gong therapy and Tibetan meditation bowls to the NHS?)
It’s far from the first time eyebrows have been raised over Harry’s various statements that later turn out to clash with different facts.
Take Oprah Winfrey’s outing last year when Harry told the TV titan, “my family literally cut me off financially.”
What a villain! How dare Prince Charles stop shelling out the roughly $5 million he paid the Sussexes every year just because they had abandoned the UK altogether and had no intention of opening in new Welsh leisure centre!
Only problem, according to Charles’ Clarence House, this was not the case, with a spokesman revealing last year that the future king had continued to fund his son and daughter-in-law until the summer of 2020. ( A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess told media at the time: “You are confusing two different timelines and it is incorrect to suggest there is a contradiction.”)
Or when Harry also spoke to Oprah about their $120 million deal with Netflix: “During Covid, a friend’s suggestion was, ‘What about streamers?'”
He added: “We hadn’t thought of that…there were all kinds of different options.”
However, last year the Telegraph revealed that Meghan had been “in talks” with the steam giant in 2018 when they were still very active members of the Royal Family.
It was also reported by the same outlet that the Sussexes had been in talks with now-defunct streaming service Quibi in May 2019.
And then there are the more minor, but still curious and contradictory details.
On the Sussex Oprah outing, Harry said of his toddler son and Archie: ‘I guess the highlight for me is sticking him on the back of a bike in his little baby seat and take him for bike rides, which I have never been able to. do when I was young.
Photos of the Duke as a child riding a bike with his father and brother quickly emerged.
Or in 2017 Harry told Bryony Gordon it was William who encouraged him to come into council… but then he told podcast host Dax Shepherd last year it was his now wife Meghan who had given her the impetus to ask for help, saying, “She saw it right away. She could tell I was in pain.
(To be fair, chances are his brother and Meghan urged him to talk to a therapist.)
Listen, Harry’s advocacy around mental health deserves all the gold stars and a thousand high-fives. He has shown great courage in making himself so vulnerable and talking about his own experiences and his commitment to trying to help others is beyond reproach. His heart is very clearly in the right place.
But perhaps the problem lies in the fact that he has only spent ten days in the UK in the last 750 days. Perhaps if he went back a little further he would remember that, sure, he became a polarizing figure in the UK, but when it comes to his work in mental health, the whole country is behind him.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of top media titles in Australia.