Prince Harry revealed he wanted to quit royal family in his 20s: 'Look what it did to my mom'

The Duke of Sussex appeared on the latest episode of Dax Shepard and Monica Padman’s “Armchair Expert” podcast where the trio spoke about mental health and the importance of therapy. 

The hosts were curious about what life was like for the 36-year-old growing up in such an unconventional environment as the British royal family. Padman inquired whether or not he felt like he was “in a cage” for most of his life, to which Harry noted that he began struggling with his responsibility as a royal and his desire to live a more conventional life early on. 

“It’s the job right? Grin and bear it, get on with it,” Harry began. “When I was in my early 20s, I had a case of ‘I don’t want this job. I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mom. How am I going to settle down and have a wife and a family when I know that it’s going to happen again?”

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Prince Harry spoke about therapy on the most recent episode of the ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast.

Prince Harry spoke about therapy on the most recent episode of the ‘Armchair Expert’ podcast. (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen VAX LIVE)

Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 at age 36 while trying to avoid aggressive paparazzi. The British royal noted that he fears something like that will happen again in his family.

Harry continued: “Because I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve seen the business model. I know how this operation runs and how it works. I don’t want to be part of this.”

However, for years Harry didn’t quite know what to do with these feelings he was having and definitely didn’t see a way out of royal life. 

“Because you can’t get out. How are you going to do this differently? How are you going to make your mom proud? How are you going to use this platform to really affect change and be able to give people that confidence to be able to change their own lives?” he said.

The Duke of Sussex noted that meeting his wife, Meghan Markle, helped him get into therapy to process how he was feeling. 

“She saw it. She saw it straight away,” he said of the former American actress, 39. “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.”

Although he recalls being angry, Harry noted that his anger didn’t manifest in any kind of outburst. Instead, he merely internalized a lot of what was bothering him. 

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“I’ve never screamed, I’ve never shouted. For me the best way to let out aggression is boxing,” he explained. “But for me, prior to meeting Meghan, it was very much a case, certainly connected to the media, that anger and frustration of, ‘this is so unjust.’”

Harry explained that he had to learn to deal with things that are out of his control, which he still struggles with today when it comes to paparazzi and public attention being paid to his family. 

“The three major times that I felt helpless, one as a kid in the back of a car while my mom was being chased by paparazzi, two was in Afghanistan in an Apache helicopter and the third one was with my wife,” Harry revealed. “Those are the moments in my life where, yeah, feeling helpless hurts. It really hurts. And that’s when you think to yourself, ‘s—, I have the privilege, I have the platform, I have the influence and I even I can’t fix this. I can’t change this. And when you start getting in your head about it, that’s when it starts taking a toll.”

Prince Harry opened up about how meeting Meghan Markle helped him get into therapy.

Prince Harry opened up about how meeting Meghan Markle helped him get into therapy. (AP)

Elsewhere in the lengthy 90-minute interview, Harry and the hosts discussed the concept of his privilege growing up as a British royal and how it shaped his perspective in a unique way that wasn’t necessarily bad. 

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“Believe me, all of us have seen suffering. I, luckily, because it’s been part of my own growth, have spent many many years traveling around the world seeing other people suffer and being able to have that empathy for them, the ability to put myself in their shoes,” Harry explained. “That was the education that I had. So the weird thing is that, yeah, I was born into this privilege, but the privilege also gave me the most unbelievable… front row seat and education. My education is not in school. My education is about meeting people across the commonwealth.”

He added: “Everywhere I go, I ask questions, everywhere I go I try to listen. I don’t want to come in and say, ‘This is what I think, these are what my solutions are.’ I already know they’re already looking at me like ‘You’re a prince, you live in a palace, where’s your crown and where’s your cape?'”

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