“All Charles Has Wanted Is for Harry to Be Happy”: Can This Father-Son Relationship Ever Heal?


    “All Charles Has Wanted Is for Harry to Be Happy”: Can This Father-Son Relationship Ever Heal?

    Barely two months after his and Meghan Markle’s frank interview with Oprah Winfrey set off shock waves within the royal family, Prince Harry is set to open up once again on television, with Friday’s premiere of his Apple TV+ documentary, The Me You Can’t See. The series, which Harry has told friends is “one of my most important pieces of work to date,” will feature Harry, Winfrey, and a raft of other celebrities opening up about their mental health struggles. 

    But Harry’s relationship with the royal family is still hanging on by a thread, and a potential new round of revelations could cause even more damage. Then again, by baring his soul to the press, Harry is only following the family tradition. 

    “He would feel like a hypocrite if he didn’t talk openly,” one source close to the prince said. “It’s all very well people wanting Harry to put a sock in it, but Harry doesn’t think what he’s saying is wrong. He thinks we should all be talking about our emotions. Charles and Diana went on national TV and spilled the beans on all types of issues, so to a degree he’s role-modeling what he witnessed his mother and father doing all those years ago.”

    Harry has already spoken openly about his family history of “genetic pain” in his appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, adding that learning about the “pain and suffering” his parents experienced inspired him to break the cycle they had been passed on to him. And insiders confirm that, as suggested by the teasers for the new documentary, he will discuss in detail his grief and trauma following his mother’s death. “Harry has been on a personal healing journey for some time, and now he’s ready to talk about it,” said a well-placed source. “He’s had to understand where he’s come from and how what has happened to him has shaped his life. Now he feels he can help others.”

    Harry, who was just 12 when his mother died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, has previously said that no child should have been made to walk behind her coffin under the full glare of the media spotlight. He also revealed in a 2017 podcast interview with journalist Bryony Gordon that he never properly processed the grief over his mother’s death, which led to a near mental breakdown in his late 20s.

    “He will talk about what he went through as a young boy and how it has shaped who he is,” added the well-placed source. “He feels that he has to speak about his own experiences in order to be authentic. His mother’s death is a big part of that. He feels he needs to share his own story in order to encourage others to open up. He hasn’t gone into this wanting to attack his family, but to help others.”

    According to Princess Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson, Harry’s mother would welcome his decision to open up. “Even now, remembering Diana publicly contrasts with the Palace’s tendency to overlook her contribution and to try to control what we remember of her,” Jephson said. “I’m glad Harry has the courage and determination to talk about his mother, to share his memories of her, and in doing so remind us of her enduring humanitarian legacy.”

    But royal author Ingrid Seward is among those who predict that Harry’s family, including the queen and Charles, will be perplexed and troubled by what he reveals. “Charles is probably hurt and angry like any parent would be,” Seward said. “But he’s quite pragmatic about his kids and has always felt he has to let them get on with it. He knows he can’t change the past, and he won’t retaliate because he knows it will just make it worse. Over the years he’s had a lot of criticism over his parenting in the press. Deep down he is a very sensitive man, and I think it will hurt having Harry criticizing him so publicly.”

    The Palace has not been given a heads-up about what Harry will say in the documentary and is bracing itself for more personal revelations. Palace sources have said that Harry’s decision to continue opening up old wounds is not helping him heal his relationship with his family. Harry, too, has acknowledged it will “take time” for that relationship to recover—though sources close to Charles believe that he still hopes for a reconciliation. 

    Harry and Charles were once close, and their relationship became even closer in the run-up to Harry and Meghan’s wedding. When Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, pulled out of the wedding at the eleventh hour after suffering a heart attack, Charles stood in and walked down the aisle with his soon-to-be daughter-in-law. 

    That summer the newly married Sussexes joined the prince and the Duchess of Cornwall for a garden party at Buckingham Palace, later spending a couple of nights at the Castle of Mey in Scotland with Charles, which was said to have been a great success. Charles was thrilled when the couple welcomed their son, Archie, just a year after their wedding. 

    But the relationship came under strain as Harry and Meghan struggled in their royal roles, pushed for greater recognition within the family, and ultimately decided they wanted a way out. When they told senior family members they wanted a fundamental change to their roles, Charles asked Harry to outline his proposal in writing. Talks, and trust, broke down when plans for their new life were leaked to the press, and according to Harry, his father stopped taking his calls shortly before the couple announced they were stepping down as senior royals. According to Harry, his father then cut off their financial support—something sources close to Charles dispute. 

    “I think Charles has been quite devastated by some of the things Harry has said,” said a friend of the Prince of Wales. “He is such a gentle man and a dedicated father first and foremost. Knowing him, he’ll be feeling wretched and will take no joy or happiness in what’s going on within the family. But he will also want to seek a reconciliation. He is not vindictive at all, and he wants to make peace with Harry.”

    Published at Thu, 20 May 2021 18:40:05 +0000