Prince Harry just sat down for another super candid interview, but don’t worry — this one is far less dramatic than his stunning March tell-all with his wife Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey. The new interview features the former royal being casually upfront about his past in conversation with actor and podcaster Dax Shepard, talking about everything from those notorious viral photos from 2012 to the unique struggles of growing up in the public eye as a royal.
A recent appearance on an episode of the Armchair Expert podcast led to a lighthearted but enlightening discussion about all the Duke of Sussex. It's the first interview that Harry has had since that revealing Oprah tell-all, but the stress of the CBS interview thankfully didn't keep the Duke from being open to talking about his life. The fact that Shepard was characteristically irreverent also helped keep the conversation casual.
"I'm really excited to meet you because, in full disclosure I'm the most ill-informed person on the royal family, at least in my circle," Shepard admitted.
Harry happily obliged the actor's questions, even when they veered into more scandalous territory. Early into the conversation, Shepard made references to Harry's "awesome nude photos in Vegas" from 2012, complimenting the former royal on his impressive physique at the time (a side effect of staying fit while he was in the military).
"God, this motherfucker's got a good body!'" Shepard recalled of his reaction to the viral photos. "You are in tremendous shape!"
"Okay, now it's getting weird," Harry laughed. "But that was a few weeks before I went to Afghanistan."
He went on to discuss the underlying reasons for his wild behavior in the past, linking it to a history of unprocessed trauma — something that Shepard, who spoke of a personal struggle with addiction, could relate to.
“There’s a reason for [acting up],” Harry explained on the podcast. “And for you, it was your upbringing and everything that happened to you, the trauma, the pain, the suffering. All of a sudden you find yourself doing a shitload of drugs and partying hard."
“Look how many other people do that, as well," he continued. "They wouldn’t necessarily have their awareness at the time. I certainly didn’t have the awareness when I was going wild. Like, Why am I actually doing this? In the moment, it’s like, Well, why not? I’m in my 20s. This is what I’m supposed to do, isn’t it?"
Some of that unrecognized emotional struggle was no doubt due to the fact that Harry and his family live under a microscope; when almost every aspect of your life is made public and subject to limitless scrutiny, you're bound to feel overwhelmed. For Harry, being under constant watch by the world has been one of the most difficult things to deal with as a royal.
"It's a mix between The Truman Show and being in a zoo,” he shared. "The biggest issue for me was that being born into it you inherit the risk, you inherit the risk that comes with it. You inherit every element of it without choice and because of the way that the UK media are, they feel an ownership over you."
"Literally like a full-on ownership, and then they give the impression to some, well most, of their readers that that is the case, but I think it’s a really dangerous place to be if you don’t have a choice. But then of course people, quite rightly, will turn around and go, 'So what if you didn’t have a choice? It was privilege.'”
Now that Harry and Meghan have stepped back from their positions as senior members of the Royal Family, they don't have to ascribe to the many rules and protocols of The Firm (which often include maintaining a cordial relationship with the same media that would hound them daily). As technically private, financially independent people living it up in California, the Sussexes are shaping their own narratives, one interview at a time.