Prince Harry has always been my favorite royal. He seems to be the most "real" of the bunch, and since marrying Meghan Markle, that is even more true. The Duke of Sussex always finds the fun wherever he is, but also knows when it's time to be serious.
This combination has made Prince Harry an incredibly humble man, who is following in his mother's footsteps when it comes to helping others. Harry founded the Invictus Games, where wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans compete in varying sports.
While at the current Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, Harry was gave a moving speech at the Closing Ceremony, where he opened up about his mental health. The Duke of Sussex started off by acknowledging that what these athletes do isn't "magical," it's from hard work.
“What they are achieving isn’t impossible nor is it magical,” Harry continued. “You have seen it happen before your very eyes because these competitors have made it happen. They are men and women who have confronted a challenge and overcome it. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things… That is something we can all aspire to.”
Harry pointed out that perhaps the most important challenge these athletes has overcome is mental health.
“By simply being here and fighting back from some of the darkest experiences known to anyone, you have become role models for everyone at home or in the stands who might be struggling with their emotions or with a mental illness," he told them. "You are showing it’s okay not to be okay. And most importantly, you are showing us all that it’s okay to ask for help.”
The Prince then got emotional as he made the speech a little more personal.
“I’ve been there, you’ve been there, and we now need to reach out to those who can never even imagine themselves in that place,” he encouraged. “When you accept a challenge is real, you can have hope. When you understand your vulnerability, you can become strong. When you are brave enough to ask for help, you can be lifted up. You can start living, doing, feeling — not simply surviving.”
Harry has spoken about his mental health struggles in the past, acknowledging that his mother's death was a trigger for him to shut down.
“I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he told The Telegraph. “It was 20 years of not thinking about it, and two years of total chaos.”
He admitted to having both panic and rage attacks, and was "very close to total breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and lies and misconceptions are coming to you from every angle.”
Harry also noted that just being a royal comes with its own set of mental health struggles.
“I have no idea how any of us stay sane," he said. "But it comes with the job, and one of the hardest things is not being able to have a voice and stand up for yourself. You just have to let it wash over you.”
It's very refreshing to see Prince Harry speak so openly about his struggles with mental health. It shows us that no matter what your status or wealth, matters of the mind are not something you can control.