Prince Harry received plenty of backlash after criticizing his upbringing in a recent podcast interview. Still, sources close to the royal say that his own father, Prince Charles, had similar complaints.
This week, royal aides said the 36-year-old prince showed a “lack of compassion” for his family, including his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, by suggesting that he had been failed during his childhood by his father, Prince Charles.
Prince Harry sat down with Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast and spoke of the “cycle” of “genetic pain,” which he claimed he and his wife, Meghan Markle, had moved to the US to break for the sake of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
He said that he had been brought up the way his father had, suggesting that the Queen and the late Prince Philip had failed their own son, Prince Charles, when he was growing up.
Prince Harry said: “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. It’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on.”
However, sources close to Prince Harry drew comparisons between his recent interview and a biography written almost 30 years ago with tell-all details of his own father’s upbringing.
In a 1994 biography authorized by Prince Charles and written by Jonathan Dimbleby after many candid and personal interviews, the future king opened up about his own unhappy childhood.
The book — The Prince of Wales: A Biography — was interpreted by many people at the time as an insight into the breakdown of Prince Charles’s short marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.
Prince Charles via Dimbleby told the miserable story of his childhood filled with tears and two emotionally distant parents.
The heir to the throne claimed that he was bullied by his father and an aloof mother who greeted him with a handshake after she had been away from him for half of a year.
Dimbleby wrote that Charles was: “Easily cowed by the forceful personality of his father, whose rebukes for a deficiency in behaviour or attitude… easily drew tears.”
A friend, who spoke to Dimbleby with Prince Charles’s permission, had some harsh words for the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
The pal said Queen Elizabeth’s husband was “belittling” and even “bullying” his son. Prince Charles described his mother as “not indifferent so much as detached.”
Prince Charles was asked if the reports were true and that Prince Philip was a “tough disciplinarian,” and if he had been told, “to sit down and shut up.”
Prince Charles replied by saying: “The whole time, yes.”
Dimbleby wrote in the biography that Prince Charles suffered emotionally while at the boarding school, Gordonstoun, the same one Philip went to.
Prince Charles said: “It’s such hell…It’s such a hole here…The language people use is horrid.”
Writer Sally Bedell Smith confirmed Prince Charles’s cold and unhappy childhood by writing in Vanity Fair: “That lack of tactile connection was achingly apparent in May 1954, when the Queen and Prince Philip greeted 5-year-old Charles and 3-year-old Anne with handshakes after an absence of nearly six months on a tour of Commonwealth nations. Martin Charteris, Elizabeth’s onetime private secretary, observed that Charles ‘must have been baffled by what a natural mother-son relationship was meant to be like.’”
However, royal aides have called for Harry and Meghan to give up their titles, saying that there is a feeling of “betrayal” and “bewilderment” in Buckingham Palace.
Prince Harry has joined Oprah Winfrey for a new series on mental health, available on Apple TV+.
A recent trailer for the series showed 13-year-old Prince Harry watching the coffin of his mother, Princess Diana passing him during her funeral in 1997.