The Prince’s Mission in Afghanistan
Hardly had Heart of Invictus, Prince Harry’s new documentary, debuted on Netflix when it was already at the center of gossip. Again, it was due to the subtle attacks of the second-born son of Charles III and Lady Diana against the British royal family. Harry stayed in Afghanistan for a few months, between the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 ©Getty Images.
The Impact of His Experiences
Heart of Invictus is a six-episode miniseries dedicated to the Invictus Games, the Olympics dedicated to war veterans that the prince created in 2014, but there is much more inside, including the repercussions on mental health caused by particularly strong experiences, such as war or the premature loss of a parent. And it is here that the prince dives, again, into the trauma of his mother’s death and then the aftermath of the months he spent in service in Afghanistan, which marked him just as powerfully. “The biggest struggle for me was people. Nobody around me could really help me. I didn’t have a support structure or a group of experts to help me understand what I had,” he said. Then the awareness of needing help. “Unfortunately, like me, the first time you really consider therapy is when you’re lying on the floor in the fetal position, wishing you had faced the problem before. And that’s what I really want to change,” he said.
The Aftermath of His Journey
His world – Harry told – collapsed upon his return from his mission in Afghanistan, between the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, but this was only a triggering factor, not the real cause of his distress. “What was emerging was from 1997, when I was 12,” revealed the prince. “Losing my mother at such a young age, the trauma I had, I was never really aware of it, I never talked about it, I repressed it, I never talked about it like most children would. But then, when the trauma started to emerge, I was asking myself: ‘What’s going on? Now I feel everything, I’m no longer insensitive like before. My problem was that no one around me could help me,” Harry said. Harry and William at their mother’s funeral in September 1997 ©Getty Images. What triggered that “awakening” was also the way he returned home from Afghanistan. Few people knew about the prince’s mission, but in the end the secret was revealed, despite an agreement of confidentiality between Buckingham Palace and some media outlets that knew. Harry thus became a target, so much so that he even received death threats. The decision to bring him back home was inevitable, even to not put those around him in danger. This is not the first time Harry speaks of mental illness, still perceived as a stigma in many sectors, including the armed forces. And this is the most authentic message of his new work, the second for Netflix after the much more scandalous Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.