Prince Harry's Complaint About His Upbringing Overlooks One Key Detail

Prince Harry's description that he came from a "broken home" during Saturday's interview with a trauma expert overlooks key details about the privileges of growing up as a member of the royal family, a British TV morning show has heard.

Harry sat down with Dr. Gabor Maté to promote his memoir, Spare, on Saturday. He discussed the mental health and developmental set-backs he experienced throughout his childhood and later life.

Exploring his time in the British Armed Forces, the prince described himself as a "fantastic candidate for the military." He explained, per The Daily Telegraph: "I don't know how it is around the rest of the world, but certainly in the UK, we tend to recruit from broken homes—you know, individuals who are ready for it."

Prince Harry and King Charles
Prince Harry photographed on April 17, 2021. And (inset) Harry and his father, King Charles III (when Prince of Wales), photographed in August 1997. Harry has discussed at length his upbringing in recent media projects and interviews. Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images/Julian Parker/UK Press

This "broken home" identifier was picked up by a number of media outlets, making the front page of British tabloid newspaper The Sun on Sunday.

Good Morning Britain anchor Richard Madeley discussed the topic with Newsweek's chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, on Monday. He said Harry's latest comments closely follow grievances made in similar interviews, his new book and Netflix docuseries.

"When I read it, I have to say, I thought to myself: 'Are you ever, ever going to stop moaning? Are you ever going to shut up?'" Madeley said.

"There are two sides to this," responded Royston. "Which is, one, that he did have a very difficult upbringing. We focus a lot on Princess Diana dying, but I think it was probably a very difficult time while the marriage was disintegrating as well.

"However, if you are going to describe yourself as being from a broken family, you do also kind of have to acknowledge all of the privilege that comes with royal life when you make that point.

"Obviously," Royston added, "they're brought up in palaces with people waiting on them and, you know, the best education money can buy [...] there are definitely significant compensations."

On Saturday, Harry spoke about therapy and how he has been on a personal development journey. He told Maté that, despite feeling in a happier and healthier place, the prince has become "more distant" from his family in Britain.

"I actually felt more pushed aside," Harry said of life after therapy. "And then I said to my therapist: 'OK, I've got a problem–this is working for me [...] so that I can now live a truly authentic life and be genuinely happy and be a better dad for my kids. But, at the same time, I'm feeling more and more distant from my loved ones and my family. This is a problem.'"

Prince Harry and Family
Prince Harry photographed in the arms of King Charles III (when Prince of Wales) and Prince William in the arms of Princess Diana, photographed at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, England, July 14, 1986. Harry said on Saturday that he comes from a broken home. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The prince also spoke about his desire to make sure that his children do not suffer as he did during their early years.

"I, as a father, feel a huge responsibility to ensure that I don't pass on any trauma, or any negative experiences, that I've had as a kid or as a man growing up," Harry said.

The prince spoke about the personal development journey he has been on. This included moving to the U.S. with Meghan Markle in 2020 and stepping away from his role within the British monarchy. He added: "I've lost a lot, but at the same time, I've gained a lot. To see my kids growing up here the way they are, I just can't imagine how that would have been possible back in that environment."

The interview was streamed ahead of news breaking that Harry and Meghan had been contacted by Buckingham Palace in London, regarding their attendance at King Charles' coronation on May 6.

A spokesperson for the couple said, per the BBC: "I can confirm the Duke has recently received email correspondence from His Majesty's office regarding the coronation. An immediate decision on whether the Duke and Duchess will attend will not be disclosed by us at this time."

That an invitation has been forthcoming is not surprising, Royston told Good Morning Britain.

"It is the right thing for the reputation of the monarchy," he explained. "If you're going to look back in 20 or 30 years' time, the monarchy always has to present itself as being above the psychodrama, above the soap-opera and too good for revenge."

"I'm not actually surprised they got the invite," Royston added. "But I think it's quite interesting in the comment that came from Harry and Meghan's office that they were invited by the king's office. So, Charles didn't ring Harry and say, 'I want you there.'"

Newsweek approached representatives of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for comment.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek's royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

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