Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. Prince William, Prince Harry, Duchess Kate and more members of the royal family have opened up about their mental health struggles over the years.
William and Harry, for their part, have been candid about how the death of their mother, Princess Diana, has affected them.
“My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?” Harry recalled in 2017. “[I thought] it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back. So from an emotional side, I was like, right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything. And then [I] started to have a few conversations and actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with.”
Diana died in 1997 at the age of 36. While William was 15, Harry was just 12 years old at time.
“My brother, you know, bless him, he was a huge support to me,” Harry said in the same 2017 interview with the Telegraph. “He kept saying, ‘This is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk to [someone] about stuff, it’s OK.’”
Along with Kate, the brothers subsequently teamed up to launch Heads Together, an initiative to try to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health in the U.K.
“It was Catherine who first realized that all three of us were working on mental health in our individual areas of focus,” William revealed in 2017. “She had seen that at the core of adult issues like addiction and family breakdown, unresolved childhood mental health issues were often part of the problem.”
After Harry married Meghan Markle in 2018, she joined the initiative. In May 2019, the two couples launched a text messaging helpline that aims to support people in crisis.
“We are incredibly excited to be launching this service, knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day,” they said in a statement at the time. “Over the last few months Shout has started working quietly behind the scenes. We have all been able to see the service working up close and are so excited for its future.”
Harry and Meghan later split from their joint charity with William and Kate. In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took a step back from their royal duties, moving to the United States.
Scroll through to read the most candid quotes from the royal family: