Prince Harry’s eagerly awaited new Netflix documentary has finally dropped – and it contains several bombshells. Heart of Invictus went live on the streaming platform today and follows former military servicemen and women on their road to the Invictus Games – a Paralympic-style sporting competition Harry set up in 2014 for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.
The show forms part of the Sussexes’ multimillion-pound deal with Netflix – with their main output so far having been last year’s controversial Harry & Meghan documentary. And even though this series focuses more on the competitors and their stories rather than the duke and duchess, there are still many explosive moments…
One of the biggest talking points from the five-part series comes in the second episode when Invictus competitors are asked about the mental toll of going to war – and Harry is asked about how if affected him.
And in what appears to be a dig at his royal relatives, he says he “didn’t have that support structure, that network or that expert advice to identify actually what was going on with me,” after admitting he was angry when he returned from a tour of duty.
He added: “The biggest struggle for me is no-one around me could really help, I didn’t have that support structure, that network or that expert advice to identify what was actually going on with me. Unfortunately, like most of us the first time you really consider therapy is when you are lying on the floor in the foetal position probably wishing you had dealt with some of this stuff previously and that’s what I really want to change.”
Meanwhile, in the same segment of the series, Harry admits that when he returned from the war in Afghanistan, it triggered the unresolved trauma of losing his mother Princess Diana, when he was just 12.
He says: “Look, I can only speak for my personal experience, my tour of Afghanistan in 2012 flying Apaches, somewhere after that there was an unravelling and the trigger for me was actually returning from Afghanistan.
“But the stuff that was coming up was from 1997, from the age of 12, losing my mum at such a young age, the trauma that I had I was never really aware of, it was never discussed, I didn’t really talk about it – and I suppressed it like most youngsters would have done but when it all came fizzing out. I was bouncing off the walls, I was like, ‘what is going on here? I am now feeling everything as opposed to being numb.'”
Pointed uniform comment
The series documents the preparations that go into the Games by both organisers and athletes alike and in the third episode, Harry can be seen on a video call with the UK Invictus team – where he appears to make a dig about military uniform.
Encouraging them ahead of the competition last year, he tells them: “You did it every day, wearing uniform and for one reason or another that uniform had to be hung up. That service that runs in your blood, our blood, never leaves the body. It is there.”
The comment comes after Harry was banned from wearing military uniform when he and Meghan Markle quit their royal roles and Harry was forced to give up his military affiliations. At King Charles’ Coronation earlier this year, he wore a morning suit. He also wore a suit for his beloved grandmother the late Queen’s funeral last year – despite calls for him to be allowed to wear military dress. However, one exception was made when Harry wore uniform during a vigil around his grandmother’s coffin in Westminster Hall.
However, it was later claimed Harry was “devastated” at having to remove the ‘ER’ symbol from the uniform even though Prince William was allowed to keep his. After the initials were not removed from William, a pal told The Sunday Times: “He [Harry] is heartbroken. To remove his grandmother’s initials feels very intentional.” Reports suggested Harry nearly decided to wear the morning suit anyway to avoid “humiliation”.
Meanwhile, on the same call, Harry appeared to shock some the UK team as he dropped the F-bomb while offering his advice to those taking part. Many laughed out loud when the duke started swearing during the morale-boosting chat.
He said: “So when you’re out there kicking a**, trying to win a medal, or just having fun, making your family incredibly proud, when you feel that feeling in your throat and you feel like you might want to cry, then just f***ing cry. I mean that.”
Meghan soothes panicked Harry
Meghan Markle only makes fleeting appearances in the documentary – but in one behind-the-scenes moment, she can be seen attempting to soothe Harry’s nerves ahead of a glitzy event.
In the first episode, Meghan is seen gently supporting her husband as he is overcome with nerves ahead of an important speech at the Salute to Freedom Gala in New York. The mum-of-two is seen walking the red carpet holding hands with Harry, who was suited and booted in a black tuxedo.
The couple sweetly greet guests ahead of the event, with Meghan telling one woman: “Nice to meet you.” After posing for photographers, Meghan and Harry share a touching moment, as the prince confesses he is feeling anxious ahead of the speech. “Haven’t done this for a while,” he said. “I know,” Meghan replies.
“My heart, I’m like…” Harry says, as he imitates his heart beating fast, while Meghan supportively clutches his hand. “I’m nervous,” he giggles. He’s then seen impatiently waiting backstage, pacing the room, eating snacks and practising some deep breathing to slow down his racing heart. He then heads to the stage, with Meghan seen adjusting her dress by herself as the door closed behind them.
‘Circumstance’ caused outpouring of emotion
Meanwhile, in one of the more poignant moments in the documentary, Harry takes time out from his busy schedule to speak to Darrell Ling from Team Canada. The athlete spoke about his ‘demons’, with Harry listening intently before the former serviceman tells him: “I’m glad that you have been through this stuff. And know how we feel.”
Looking contemplative, Harry said he ‘can’t pretend’ to know what other veterans have been through, but he admitted it had been tough for him to battle his own mental health issues. Darrell likened his own struggles to ‘shaking up a bottle’ and seeing the contents explode out of the top, and Harry confessed he felt the same when he also suffered similar emotions.
“The reason I was smiling when you said that was because I had that,” he shared. “I had that moment in my life where I didn’t know about it, but because of the trauma of losing my mum when I was 12… for all those years, I had no emotion.”
Harry was just 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris, leaving him, and his older brother Prince William, devastated. And during his chat with Darrell, he revealed he suffered a breakdown after something happened to him when he was 28.
“I was unable to cry, I was unable to feel. I didn’t know it at the time. And it wasn’t until later in my life at age 28, there was a circumstance that happened, that the first few bubbles started coming out. Then suddenly it was like someone shook it and it went poof… And then, it was chaos,” Harry continued.
While he didn’t talk about what ‘circumstance’ prompted him to hit rock bottom, he said his emotions were ‘sprayed all over the wall’, and he was forced to ask himself: “How the hell do I contain this?”
“I’ve gone from nothing to everything. And I now need to find myself, get a glass jar, put myself in it, leave the lid open,” Harry added, as he revealed his therapist gave him a vital piece of advice: “You choose what comes in, and everything else bounces off.”
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