in article about the british royal family, a photo of buckingham palace

The Royal Family’s Mental Health Is as Important as It Is Invisible

While the news and social media highlight the glitz and glamour of the English monarchy, most cameras fail to capture their personal struggles.

Some fans of the British royal family believe that it is a dream to be born into royalty and live in an estate like Buckingham Palace. However, while television and social media paint a happy picture of the royals, few cameras show the stress and isolation of being a royal. Diana, the Princess of Wales, challenged the traditions of the royal family but did not show the world how depressed and lonely she was. The world loved Princess Diana for her authenticity in front of the camera. She even showed the world her independence by breaking royal protocols just to interact with people and support her sons. Diana also worked with several charities to raise awareness of mental health as well as speak about her struggles with depression and bulimia.

Her son Prince Harry has his own struggles with depression and panic attacks, partially because he did not have time to properly mourn his mother as a child. His wife, Meghan Markle, has also described her struggles with suicidal thoughts and loneliness. As the world learns about the hardships of Harry and his wife, fans see how lonely and isolating it is to be a royal. Princess Diana was a loving mother and wanted to make a difference, and although she and Prince Harry suffered from their own mental health issues, they stayed strong for the world.

In the NBC video “25 Years Later: The Life and Legacy of Princess Diana,” viewers see Diana say, “I’m not a political figure. I am a humanitarian figure, always have been and always will be.”  As part of her broader mission, she wanted to teach people to not feel ashamed of asking for help and sharing their struggles. In an interview with Martin Bashir, Diana revealed that she suffered from post-partum depression after giving birth to William. Although she tried to ask for support, the royal family dismissed her as mentally unstable and thought of her as someone who just wanted attention. As a result, she began to cut herself as a coping mechanism for her depression.

Diana also revealed that she had been struggling with bulimia for years and used it as an escape from the pressures of the royal family. She explained in an interview about these struggles, “You inflict it upon yourself because your self-esteem is at a low-ebb and you don’t think you’re worthy or valuable. It gives you a feeling of comfort. It’s like having a pair of arms around you, but it’s temporary.”

Likewise, in a March 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Markle revealed that she had suicidal thoughts. According to the interview, “Oprah with Meghan and Harry,” Markle stated, “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore and that was a very clear and real and frightening thought.” Markle, like Diana, tried to reach out for help from the monarchy but was similarly denied. In another interview titled, “The Me You Can’t See,” Harry revealed that he did not want to be a royal anymore. To cope with his mother’s death, Harry resorted to drugs and alcohol but eventually attended therapy to relieve his trauma and develop healthier coping mechanisms. In July 2020, Harry and Markle left the monarchy and moved to California to work on their trauma and live normal lives.

While Princess Diana and Prince Harry were both royals, neither were happy because their lives were shattered by the pressures of the monarchy. However, they both found peace when Diana divorced Prince Charles and later when Harry and Markle left the royal family to live in the United States. Diana and Harry were loved by people all over the world, but neither felt loved by anyone.  Both, alongside Markle, either felt or still feel the pressures of the monarchy, leading to neglected trauma; they first coped in an unhealthy way, but later found peace through healthier alternatives that helped them get past their trauma and find harmony.

Caroline Ocampo, The University of Texas at Arlington

Writer Profile

Caroline Ocampo

The University of Texas at Arlington
Creative Writing

I am a down to earth person that loves reading books, spending time with my family and nieces. I also love animals and have a 1-year-old pug named Coco who I love playing with. I am a history major who loves reading about how people lived back then and using my research skills to write an informative article about past events.

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