Prince Harry says royals are in cycle of ‘genetic pain’ passing on bad parenting habits

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Prince Harry at the Vax Live fundraising concert on 2 May 2021 in Inglewood, California (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harry at the Vax Live fundraising concert on 2 May 2021 in Inglewood, California (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince Harry said part of his decision to leave the British Royal Family was to “break the cycle” of “pain” he had suffered growing up.

During an appearance on American actor Dax Shepard's podcast, the Duke of Sussex said he first considered leaving his duties in his early 20's because of “what it did to my mum”. He claimed he wanted to “change that for my own kids”.

The podcast is the latest appearance the prince has made since he and his wife Meghan Markle's high profile exit from the British monarchy.

Earlier this year, the couple participated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, and later this month Prince Harry and Ms Winfrey will premiere a mental health show, The Me You Can't See.

The prince suggested that his father, Prince Charles, had “suffered” from his upbringing under Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

He said that his father “treated me the way” he had been treated growing up, characterising it as a kind of “genetic pain”.

“I don't think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I've experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I'm going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don't pass it on, basically,” he said.

Prince Harry said he felt he had some responsibility to “make sure that doesn't happen to [his children]”.

He described his decision to move to the US as one that put his family and mental health first.

The prince described his life as a royal as a “mixture between The Truman Show and being in a zoo”.

During the interview, the prince revealed that Ms Markle “saw he was angry” and asked if he felt like his duties as a royal felt like being “in a cage”.

“It's the job right? Grin and bear it. Get on with it,” Prince Harry said. “I was in my early twenties and I was thinking 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 mum, how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family when I know it's going to happen again.”

He said it was his wife's concerns that led him to seek out therapy.

Since moving to the US, the prince said he has felt more free and comfortable.

“So living here [Los Angeles] now I can actually lift my head and I feel different, my shoulders have dropped, so have hers, you can walk around feeling a little bit more free, I can take Archie on the back of my bicycle, I would never have had the chance to do that,” he said.

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