Opening Up

How Meghan Markle Helped Prince Harry Open Up

The prince has undergone a remarkable transformation from out-of-control party boy to emotionally intelligent adult. New girlfriend Meghan Markle was the catalyst, sources say.

Ian Gavan/Getty

Prince Harry found the courage to speak out about the effects on his mental health of the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, thanks to the encouragement and support of his new girlfriend Meghan Markle, according to insiders quoted by U.S. magazine Closer.

A source told Closer: “Harry fell for Meghan partly because she’s so open, and has that American attitude of saying, ‘Let’s talk about our feelings.’

“He comes from such a stiff-upper-lip culture, but Meghan helped him open up.

“Meghan encouraged Harry to see that, by speaking publicly about his difficult experience, he would really help others, and how being honest might even be a relief.

“No other woman has helped Harry so much emotionally.”

Harry has broken a succession of royal taboos in recent weeks.

First came the extraordinary audio interview with the Daily Telegraph in which he said: “I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well.

“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”

In that interview with Bryony Gordon from the Daily Telegraph in support of the Heads Together mental-health charity, which he now champions along with Prince William and Kate Middleton, Harry revealed that he suffered panic and rage attacks and that things only began to change for him after he sought professional help from a “shrink.”

Arguably even more extraordinary was a televised three-way chat between Harry, William, and Kate which was broadcast as part of a documentary about the London Marathon.

In it, Harry said, “I always thought to myself, ‘What’s the point of bringing up the past? What’s the point in bringing up something that’s only going to make you sad? It ain’t going to change it.’ When you start thinking like that, it can be really damaging.”

“What happened with us, and must happen with others as well, is you have to prioritize your mental health,” Prince William responded. “Someone has to take the lead and has to be brave enough to force that conversation.”

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“We’ve never really talked about losing a mum at such a young age, and then you speak to other families and little kids and stuff, and you think, ‘Wow, I don’t want them to have to go through the same things,’” Prince Harry added. “You want to help as much as you can and try and empower them to have that conversation.”

The source also told Closer that Suits star Meghan, who has been staying with Harry at his London home this year, has also helped Harry feel at ease in front of cameras for the first time and made him “a different person.”