Why Prince Harry Should Not Be Dismissed As ‘Whining’

There have recently been some reports in certain newspapers that Prince Harry is in danger of losing public popularity due to ‘whining’ and blaming others for his difficulties.

However, it needs to be remembered that he lost his mother, completely unexpectedly, at the age of twelve and his subsequent mourning was subject to the full glare of the media (one remembers the unbearably moving images broadcast to the world during the funeral procession of Prince Harry and his brother Prince William marching behind the coffin).

And, whilst he was afforded a degree of privacy at Eton, it would hardly have been possible for him to ignore the fact that he was a world-famous person whose behavior would be forever under the minutest scrutiny and potentially publicized as page-one news throughout the world with little or no warning, irrespective of its veracity. That’s quite a lot of pressure for an adolescent to handle.

Add on to this that he had lived through his parents’ deteriorating marriage and divorce as an even younger child and that his mother, Princess Diana, reputedly had her own emotional demons, and it should be obvious to anyone who does not possess a heart of stone that Harry suffered multiple and protracted traumas during his childhood. Studies, such as the seminal ACE Study , make clear how the experience of such childhood trauma can devastate a life, leading to not only psychological problems but to physical disease too, leading to a dramatically decreased life expectancy.

Indeed, Harry’s full, frank, and admirably brave revelation that he turned to binge drinking is unsurprising in so far as such behaviour is a classic (albeit dysfunctional) response to the mental pain caused by childhood trauma being, as it is, a defence mechanism that creates a dissociative mental state.

Just because Harry had what some may call a ‘privileged’ upbringing (though it is quite easily arguable that such an upbringing involves more ‘cons’ than ‘pros’ – see my previously published post: What Is Privileged Abandonment’ And How Can It Affect The Child?) it does not by any means follow that he should somehow be immune to emotional suffering or is not entitled to express his feelings about it. Indeed, such a finger-wagging attitude can be extremely damaging; it is imperative that a person harmed by psychological childhood trauma has his perceptions of his painful experiences, and subsequent emotional reactions to these experiences, validated (see my previously published post: The Vital Importance Of Having Our Traumatic Experiences Validated).

Not only is Harry fully entitled to express the pain he has suffered, but he should also be applauded for continuing to raise public awareness of mental health issues as well as the antecedents of mental health issues (overwhelming related to childhood trauma) that are all too frequently ignored (even by doctors – see my previously published post: Why Don’t Doctors Ask About Childhood Trauma?) brushed under the carpet, regarded as taboo and not spoken about (see my previously published post Why Is It So Hard To Talk About Our Experiences Of Severe Trauma?).




David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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