Prince Harry is leaving the royal life to keep his wife Meghan Markle and eight-month-old son Archie safe and away from the media scrutiny that killed his mother Princess Diana in 1997, according to two experts.
Prince Harry, 35, doesn’t want the same tragic circumstances surrounding his mother Princess Diana‘s death happen to his own family and it’s one of the main reasons he’s “stepping away” from royal duties, according to one expert. Meredith Sagan, MD, MPH, Lead Psychiatrist at TMS & Brain Health in Santa Monica, says that the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan Markle‘s decision to stop being “senior royals” could have something to do with the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that Harry most likely endured after his mother’s shocking death, which was the result of a car accident that happened while she was being chased by paparazzi in 1997. He was just 12-years-old at the time.
“PTSD involves a sense of hyper vigilance, having startle response, flashbacks, nightmares, and essentially because the clicks of the camera take him way back into his history, that makes me think that he does have an element of PTSD,” Sagan EXCLUSIVELY explained to HollywoodLife. “Which would make sense because if he was exposed to images of his mother, of her death, of the chaos surrounding it when he was a child, he would have PTSD from that. And so part of PTSD is this hyper-awareness and this psychological fight or flight response. And, it would make sense then that their departure would be related to a post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Harry already let the public know that he understands the dangers of being in the spotlight due to his mother’s situation in numerous interviews over the years, and he admitted protecting 38-year-old Meghan and their eight-month-old son Archie is at the top of his priority list, when he spoke in the 2019 documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey.
“He said ‘I have a family to protect and I’m going to do that.’ He also mentioned his mother and the principles and values that she taught him before she died and that was to step up for his family and put them first,” Sagan said. “And, so he does have good reason and good evidence that the media and the paparazzi is a health hazard and a danger to his own wife and son, because, indeed, he did lose his mother. There’s no doubt about it. He will not want his own son to follow, or his own children, to follow down that same path. He would not want his own children to be without a mother like he was left because he knows what damage that did to his own life and his own past. And he would not allow that to happen to his family.”
Sagan went on to explain that even if Harry suffers from PTSD, his reactions to his situation are all very rational and understandable and his decision to leave the royal spotlight may be a smart one. “That is a rational, logical decision coming from his own history, which is validated, proven to be true,” she said. “So, that wouldn’t necessarily be a PTSD fight or flight response. That’s just rational and logical based on his history as a child. He naturally wants to keep everything safe, himself, his wife, and his children. And so now that he has seen the media directly attacking his wife in a way that is very unsafe for her, her reputation, for the mental health of their children, and for himself, and her, he is going to protect them.”
“His heightened state of hyper vigilance, because of his own trauma, that will actually bring him into a place where he will act on it. It won’t just be a thought,” Sagan continued about Harry’s decision to build his own life with his family. “He will go in action because his hyper-vigilant stage, which is completely focused on protecting his wife and children from being attacked in a way his mother was that led to her death, it will lead him to move. He will do whatever it takes to get them out of harm’s way as part of the hyper vigilance. However, it’s also grounded in logic and reason. So we can’t say the decision is exclusively because he’s in trauma mode. His feelings makes sense of wanting to protect his family.”
A second expert, clinical psychotherapist Jeff K. Larsen M.A. agrees that the trauma Harry suffered due to the tragic death of his mother is factor in his decision to step back from the Royal spotlight. “When you consider that the primary symptom in PTSD is the re-experiencing of the actual event (in this case, his mother’s death) it is no surprise that he would want to avoid having to re-live another experience like that at all costs…especially when it comes to avoiding any problematic encounters with the press/paparazzi.”
Harry and Meghan shocked many people when they made the announcement that they were moving away from being senior royals and working on becoming “financially independent” on social media on Jan. 8. They also revealed that they will be splitting their time between the UK and North America while still supporting “Her Majesty The Queen”. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment,” part of the statement read. “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”
Although the announcement was unexpected by many, Sagan admitted she thinks it’s something Harry and Meghan, who have been married since May 2018, have been thinking about for a while. “It seems like the decision was very well calculated,” she said. “It wasn’t spontaneous, it was well thought out.”