Prince Harry: I always felt different to my family and so did my mum


The Duke of Sussex has said he has “always felt slightly different” from the rest of the Royal Family and believes his mother the late Princess Diana “felt the same”.

Speaking to therapist Dr Gabor Maté in a live interview on Saturday, the Prince said he now smothers his children with hugs something he doesn’t believe he received from his father, King Charles as the trauma expert diagnosed him with attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Harry opened up on his quest to find his “authentic true self” while growing up, telling Dr Maté: “I felt slightly different to the rest of my family. I felt strange being in this container, and I know that my mum felt the same so it makes sense to me.”

The Duke of Sussex’s book Spare (PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Sussex’s book Spare (PA) (PA Wire)

In his controversial memoir Spare, Harry detailed the moment he was informed of Diana’s death by his father claiming he was told bluntly and without a hug when he was just 12 years old.

Denying he was “a victim”, he also told Dr Mate if he did not hug his own children, Archie and Lilibet, it would have a “similar” impact on them.

He said: “I feel a huge responsibility not to pass on any trauma or negative experiences that I’ve had as a kid or as a man growing up.

“There are times when I catch myself when I should be smothering them with that love but I might not be.”

The Duke insists that he and Meghan refuse to argue in front of their children hinting at adult arguments he experienced in his own childhood.

He urged: “Do not have those disagreements, arguments, whatever it is… Luckily my wife and I don’t have those.

“The idea of having those in front of the kids? I assume that my parents probably had a lot of those [rows] in front of me, maybe that’s where it comes from… that’s not a good idea.”

Harry’s with his mother Diana, Princess of Wales (Martin Keene/PA) (PA Archive)
Harry’s with his mother Diana, Princess of Wales (Martin Keene/PA) (PA Archive)

The wide-ranging chat addressed topics raised in Spare including the Duke’s use of cocaine, marijuana and his wartime experience.

Harry said: “(Cocaine) didn’t do anything for me, it was more a social thing and gave me a sense of belonging for sure, I think it probably also made me feel different to the way I was feeling, which was kind of the point.

“Marijuana is different, that actually really did help me.”

The duke also told of using psychedelics such as ayahuasca.

He went on: “It was the cleaning of the windscreen, cleaning of the windshield, the removal of life’s filters just as much as on Instagram, these layers of filters.

“It removed it all for me and brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a lightness that I managed to hold on to for a period of time.

“I started doing it recreationally and then started to realise how good it was for me, I would say it is one of the fundamental parts of my life that changed me and helped me deal with the traumas and pains of the past.”

Dr Maté told him: “Reading the book, I diagnose you with ADD….I see it as a normal response to normal stress.”

He said this can be “healed at any age”.

The term is used for people who have difficulties with concentration without the presence of symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as impulsiveness or hyperactivity.

The Duke of Sussex also spoke of how his fellow soldiers were not “necessarily” supportive of British military efforts in Afghanistan.

Harry spoke about his time in Afghanistan (PA) (PA Archive)
Harry spoke about his time in Afghanistan (PA) (PA Archive)

Harry responded: “One of the reasons why so many people in the United Kingdom were not supportive of our troops was because they assumed that everybody that was serving was for the war.

“But no, once you sign up, you do what you’re told to do.

“So there was a lot of us that didn’t necessarily agree or disagree, but you were doing what you were trained to do, you were doing what you were sent to do.”

Tickets for the event cost £17, plus a £2.12 fee for UK customers, and included a copy of Spare which became the fastest-selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began following its release in January.

Harry’s ghost-written tell-all autobiography laid bare his frustrations with his family.

He claimed his brother William, now the Prince of Wales, had knocked him to the floor at Harry’s then home Nottingham Cottage after calling the Duchess of Sussex “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”.

The duke claimed his father, now the King, put his own interests above Harry’s and was jealous of Meghan and Kate, and that the Queen Consort sacrificed him on “her personal PR altar”.

The duke, who lives in California after moving to the US in 2020, has revealed he has enough material for two books but held back because he does not think his father and brother would “ever forgive” him.

It has not yet been confirmed whether Harry will be invited to attend his father’s coronation in May.

It came as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will no longer have access to Frogmore Cottage after Buckingham Palace removed the “privilege” from the couple.

A well-placed source told the Standard: “The Sussex’s are no longer leasing Frogmore Cottage. That privilege has been removed. It’s over for them in the UK. If they want a residence in the UK they will have to buy one privately.”

But in the talk, he hailed his wife Meghan and said she had helped him see a life outside of the Royal Family.

“People have said that my wife saved me, I was stuck in this world and she was from a different world and helped draw me out of that,” he said.

“But none of the elements of my life would have been possible without me seeing it for myself.

“My partner is an exceptional human being and I am grateful for the space that she’s given to me.”

The livestreamed event was produced by Penguin Random House in partnership with Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and Indigo Books & Music.

Speaker and best-selling author Dr Maté claims to have expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development.

According to reports, he is an outspoken supporter of decriminalising drugs, and has allegedly used the Amazonian plant ayahuasca to treat patients suffering from mental illness.