How Prince Harry Really Felt During Royal Public Events

It's been over a year since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their final public appearance as senior royals (via Forbes). Although the couple seemed happy enough to be there, likely because they already had one foot out the door by then, it later transpired that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex frequently found public appearances excruciating. During their explosive tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, Markle pointed to a shot from a 2019 event at the Royal Albert Hall, in which she looks perfectly fine while, underneath, the former actress' emotions were roiling. 

As Insider notes, Markle — who was pregnant with her first child at the time — revealed she had confessed to suicidal thoughts just a few hours before. The photo "still haunts" her, because, "if you zoom in, what I see is how tightly his knuckles are gripped around mine. You can see the whites of our knuckles, because we are smiling and doing our job, but we're both just trying to hold on." The couple felt obligated to attend the event, showcasing how trapped the Sussexes felt in the royal family. Now, Prince Harry is opening up about just how tough he found being a public figure.

Being a royal was incredibly stressful for Prince Harry

Prince Harry is hoping to help others struggling with mental health issues through his new Apple TV+ series, "The Me You Can't See," which was created in conjunction with Oprah Winfrey. While sharing how difficult his time with the royal family was, particularly in the final years when he was with wife Meghan Markle and they became tabloid fixtures, the Duke of Sussex revealed he was so stressed out attending public functions that he'd be drenched in sweat. According to the Daily Mail, Harry admitted, "Every time I put a suit and tie on and having to do the role, to go 'Right, game face' look in the mirror, right let's go. Before I left the house I was pouring with sweat, my heart rate was racing. I was in fight or flight mode.'" 

The problem was so severe that Harry had to find someone who was also freaking out in order to calm his nerves. The royal defector admitted he got nervous every time he hopped in the car, or even saw a camera, and frequently felt as though he was running hotter than everybody around him. Harry revealed, "I would convince myself that my face was bright red and therefore everybody could see how I was feeling, but nobody would know why ... it was embarrassing." The Duke of Sussex has discovered a massive change in himself since attending therapy, gushing that getting professional help has "equipped me to be able to take on anything."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.