Prince Harry has opened up in an emotional new interview and revealed the startling affect that fighting in Afghanistan had on him.
The 32-year-old describes his experience in Afghanistan as “a huge life changing moment” that caused him to reflect on his past long after he returned home from service.
In 2008, it emerged that the Prince had been secretly serving in Afghanistan as a forward air controller (FAC) on the frontline. He was stationed in the highly dangerous southern province of Helmand. He was due to complete a four month tour with the British Army.
Prince Harry admitted that he had to get himself back ‘on the right path’ after he resumed his life as a member of the royal family back in the UK. He also revealed that he suffered from crippling panic attacks when he was younger.
“In my case, suit and tie, every time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, like heart beating – boom, boom, boom, boom – and literally like a washing machine,” Prince Harry revealed. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here now.’ Oh hang on, I can’t get out of here, I have got to just hide it.”
Prince Harry made the heartbreaking revelations during an interview by his close friend and Paralympic medal winner Dave Henson for Forces TV.
He spoke openly about his mother, Princess Diana, and about how her death has had a long lasting affect on him. Prince Harry has been bravely opening up over the last few months about his struggles to cope with his mother’s death and process his grief, in order to raise awareness for mental health charity ‘Heads Together’ that he supports with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“If you lose your mum at the age of 12, you have got to deal with it,” Prince Harry said. “The idea that 20 years later I still hadn’t really… that 15, 17 years later I still hadn’t dealt with it. Afghan was the moment where I was like, ‘Right, deal with it.'”
He continued in the interview, “Once I plucked my head out of the sand, post-Afghan… it had a huge life changing moment for me. It was like, right, you are… Prince Harry, you can do this, as long are you’re not a complete tit, then you’re gonna be able to get that support, because you’ve got the credibility of 10 years’ service and therefore, you can really make a difference.”
Prince Harry also spoke about his own personal experiences have allowed him to help others with similar struggles and experiences.
“There’s similarities there and you can help them and you can have a bit of banter,” he said. “And the moment you have that banter, you can see them relax. You help yourself, so you can help others. And I think that is hugely powerful.” He added: ‘When you can get your own head and self back on the right path, the amount of people you can help is unbelievable, because you can tell the signs in people. You can see it in their eyes. You can see it in them, their reactions.”