The Me You Can’t See director Dawn Porter has told how Prince Harry ‘volunteered’ to go through therapy on camera and was ‘game for trying something’ to help his mental wellness.
The American documentary filmmaker, who is known for her works including Trapped and Gideon’s Army, has revealed how she convinced the Duke of Sussex, 36, and Oprah Winfrey to open up in the new five-part AppleTV+ docuseries and what led the royal to go through therapy on film.
Speaking to Town and Country magazine, Dawn, who says she already knew a lot about what the royal was doing to maintain his mental wellbeing, said: ‘Harry he volunteered, he was game for trying something.
‘And we thought well, we have the opportunity to film this [therapy] and maybe this is something that will work for some people, maybe it won’t, but the idea is that you don’t tick a box and you’re done, mental wellness is an ongoing pursuit.’
‘You have to continue to try new things and to push yourself, and his volunteering to try something was a great way to emphasize and underscore that point.’
The Me You Can’t See Director Dawn Porter (pictured) has opened up about what led Prince Harry to go through therapy on camera
During the docuseries, Prince Harry (pictured) dropped another nuclear ‘truth bomb’ on the Royal Family accusing them of ‘total silence’ and ‘neglect’ when Meghan was suicidal
Dawn Porter said the project was so important to Oprah (pictured) and Prince Harry because both had ‘very personal and deep feelings about destigmatizing conversations around mental health and mental wellness’
She went on to explain that the project was so important to Oprah and Prince Harry because both had ‘very personal and deep feelings about destigmatizing conversations’ to do with mental health.
She continued: ‘This was really important to both of them, and so they were extremely hands on. We had meetings every other week.’
Key revelations from Prince Harry’s latest bombshell interview on US TV
On the Sussexes’ cries for help to the Royal Family
‘I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence, total neglect. We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job. But Meghan was struggling.’
On Harry’s family ‘stopping’ them from quitting
‘That feeling of being trapped within the family, there was no option to leave. Eventually when I made that decision for my family, I was still told, “You can’t do this”, And it’s like, “Well how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this?”. She [Meghan] was going to end her life. It shouldn’t have to get to that.’
On Meghan’s wish to ‘end her life’
‘Meghan decided to share with me the suicidal thoughts and the practicalities of how she was going to end her life.
‘The thing that stopped her from seeing it through was how unfair it would be on me after everything that had happened to my mum and to now to be put in a position of losing another woman in my life — with a baby inside of her, our baby.
‘The scariest thing for her was her clarity of thought. She hadn’t “lost it.” She wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t self-medicating, be it through pills or through alcohol. She was absolutely sober. She was completely sane’.
On Prince Charles’ parenting
‘My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I, ‘Well it was like that for me so it’s going to be like that for you’,’ Prince Harry says in the new documentary.
‘That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer, in fact quite the opposite.
‘If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences you had, that you can make it right for your kids’.
On ‘smears’ from ‘The Firm’
‘Before the Oprah interview had aired, because of the combined efforts of The Firm and the media to smear her, I was woken up in the middle of the night to her crying into her pillow because she doesn’t want to wake me up because I’m already carrying too much. That’s heartbreaking.’
And trying to repair the relationship
‘I like to think that we were able to speak truths in the most compassionate way possible, therefore leaving an opening for reconciliation and healing’
On Meghan helping Harry into therapy
‘I saw GPs. I saw doctors. I saw therapists. I saw alternative therapists. I saw all sorts of people, but it was meeting and being with Meghan I knew that if I didn’t do the therapy and fix myself that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with.
‘When she said, “I think you need to see someone,” it was in reaction to an argument that we had. And in that argument not knowing about it, I reverted back to 12-year-old Harry.’
Using booze and drugs to cope with his mother’s death
‘I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.’
The royal said he would drink a week’s worth of alcohol on a Friday or Saturday night ‘not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something’.
Dawn says they would watch footage of different possible participants and discuss their stories, and what each would would bring to the series.
She added that they were seeing in ‘real time’ how the interviewees opened up on sensitive subject matters and as a result, they opened up too.
‘They were so involved and it was such a collaborative effort for our team,’ she continued.
The director went on to say that she was far along with the edits of the docuseries when Oprah’s bombshell sit-down interview with Harry and Meghan aired in March.
However, she admitted she used ‘every bit of intel about them’ and was ‘glued to the TV’ like everybody else.’
Dawn says that during the Oprah and Harry conversation, it’s clear to see two people who are ‘comfortable’ in each other’s company.
Speaking of the docuseries, she says that the conversations took place over a period of time.
As a result, their close relationship became evident and it quickly became apparent how detailed they wanted the series to be.
Dawn continued: ‘So I see that as a product of the work they both put into their friendship as well as their professional relationship.’
During the docuseries, Prince Harry dropped another nuclear ‘truth bomb’ on the Royal Family accusing them of ‘total silence’ and ‘neglect’ when Meghan was suicidal, claiming his father Prince Charles made him ‘suffer’ as a child and insisting he would not be ‘bullied into silence’ when he alleged ‘The Firm’ ‘trapped’, smeared and dumped them – as royal experts warned the latest attack left a ‘huge gulf’ in the family.
In candid interviews, the Duke of Sussex said he and his wife felt abandoned by his relatives and this was one of their ‘biggest reasons’ for leaving for California last year.
He told Oprah: ‘Certainly now I will never be bullied into silence’, adding: ‘I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence, total neglect. We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job. But Meghan was struggling.’
He added: ‘That feeling of being trapped within the family, there was no option to leave. Eventually when I made that decision for my family, I was still told, “You can’t do this”, And it’s like, “Well how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this?”. She [Meghan] was going to end her life. It shouldn’t have to get to that.’
Royal biographer Phil Dampier said Harry’s trip to unveil a statue of Princess Diana with his brother William on July 1 will now be in ‘grave doubt’, especially after the Duke of Sussex said London is a ‘trigger’ for his anxiety.
And royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said there is now ‘clearly a huge gulf between the Royal Family and the Sussexes’, while Harry’s biographer Angela Levin called his appearance ‘phoney and embarrassing’.
Harry said that Meghan described how she would end her life while pregnant with Archie in 2019, adding: ‘The thing that stopped her from seeing it through was how unfair it would be on me after everything that had happened to my mum and to be in a position of losing another woman in my life with a baby inside of her, our baby’.
The Duke of Sussex also accused his family of smearing them to the press before their bombshell Oprah interview in March, describing being woken in their £11million mansion by his wife ‘crying in her pillow’ to stifle the noise on the eve of its broadcast. He said: ‘That’s heartbreaking. I held her. We talked. She cried and she cried and she cried.’
The Apple TV series was released in full online just four hours after his brother Prince William issued an extraordinary attack on the BBC for ruining Princess Diana’s life after her Panorama interview with ‘rogue reporter’ Martin Bashir in 1995.
But despite a judge-led inquiry finally confirming their mother was deceived into doing the show her friends say began a chain of events leading directly to her death in Paris less than two years later, Harry launched yet another full-frontal attack on the Royal Family, who are private exasperated and upset about his constant ‘pot shots’ from across the Atlantic but are unable to respond publicly.