Prince Harry: I want to break cycle of pain for my children

By Doug Faulkner & Dulcie Lee
BBC News

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The Duke of Sussex has said he wants to "break the cycle" of the "pain and suffering" of his upbringing with his own children.

Prince Harry, who is expecting a daughter with wife Meghan and is already father to their son Archie, said he did not want to pass on pain from his own experience.

But he said he did not think "we should be pointing the finger" at anybody.

Buckingham Palace and Clarence House declined to comment on his remarks.

During an appearance on the Armchair Expert podcast, Prince Harry compared his life to a mixture of the film The Truman Show, in which the main character unwittingly lives his life on a TV show, and being in a zoo.

He said in being born into the Royal Family "you inherit every element of it without choice", including that the UK media "feel an ownership over you".

Prince Harry told American actor and podcast co-host Dax Shepard: "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," he said, adding that parents should be trying to stop that happening.

He said: "I started to piece it together and go 'okay, 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?'"

The Prince of Wales ignored questions from a BBC reporter about his son's remarks, which were put to him as he arrived at a royal engagement in Cardiff earlier.

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The duke and duchess stepped down as senior royals in January 2020

The 36-year-old duke said he was in his early twenties when he thought: "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 that it's going to happen again?

"I've seen behind the curtain, I've seen the business model. I know how this operation runs and how it works, I don't want to be part of this."

In the wide-ranging 90-minute interview, the prince said his family's move to the US had not been part of the plan but he had to put his family and their mental health first.

On his and Meghan's life in Los Angeles, California, he said: "Living here now 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."

BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said, for the palaces, Prince Harry's comments come "firmly on the private side of the curtain".

"That's not to say that they don't talk about it behind the curtain. It's been put to me by various people in different quarters that this is largely as a result of Meghan, that Harry is - or was - happier in his role before Meghan," he said.

"But Harry himself says in this podcast... that Meghan was part of the process of him understanding that there was a different way, and a different place for him to be. So he's pretty open about that."

During the episode, Prince Harry says he decided to go to therapy after a conversation with Meghan. "Suddenly it was like the bubble was burst," he said.

"I plucked my head out of the sand, gave it a good shake off and I was like, 'Okay, you're in this position of privilege, stop complaining or stop thinking as though you want something different. Make this different, because you can't get out.'"