The Duke of Sussex appeared on the latest episode of Armchair Expert, the podcast hosted by actor Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, for a 90-minute conversation where he touched on mental health, parenting, and privilege.
Prince Harry, who moved to the States with wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie in 2020, described life growing up as a member of the British royal family as "a mix between The Truman Show and being in a zoo."
Reflecting on the decision to relocate, the 36-year-old royal said he was committed to protecting his family by breaking away from a cycle of “pain and suffering” that he had endured.
"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," he said, "I'm going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don't pass it on, basically.”
His comments have been perceived by some in the UK press as a criticism of his father Prince Charles’s parenting style, and come after Harry told Oprah Winfrey that his father had stopped taking his calls while he and Meghan were in Canada.
"It's a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway so we as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say, 'You know what, that happened to me — I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen to you,'" said Harry.
The couple confirmed in February that they would not be returning to life as working royals, and their explosive interview with Oprah detailed the rifts that left them financially cut off and living on money his mother Diana had left him before her untimely death in 1997.
Harry shared that when he was able to "piece together" the similarities in his childhood and how his father was raised by his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Phillip, it became clear that a breakaway was necessary.
"Suddenly I started to piece it together and go, OK, so this is where he went to school. This is what happened. I know this about his life. I also know that is connected to his parents so that means he's treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids?" he said.
Long before meeting Meghan, Harry said, he had already begun questioning the future of his role as a frontline member of the royal family.
“I was in my early twenties, and I was thinking, I don't want this job. I don't want to be here. I don't want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum. How am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family, when I know it's going to happen again?" he said.
Harry, who was recently announced as the chief impact officer for coaching and mental health company BetterUp, has long been an advocate for therapy, which he credits for allowing him to reconcile with his royal responsibilities at the time.
He said he had pledged to “stop complaining” and instead figure out ways he could make his mother proud by redefining his role and doing things differently.
The duke, who is sixth in line to the British throne, said the unplanned relocation of his family to California did offer some benefits. The family, who are expecting another child, are enjoying a little more freedom in their lives since moving stateside.
“I can actually lift my head and I feel different. My shoulders have dropped, so have hers. You can walk around feeling a little bit more free. I can take Archie on the back of my bicycle — I would never have had the chance to do that," said Harry.
Harry has joined forces with Oprah to executive produce an upcoming Apple TV+ series The Me You Can’t See, which focuses on mental health.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment.