The Duchess of Cambridge was not the only royal this week who spent time with runners of the 2017 London Virgin Money Marathon. Prince Harry attended the London Marathon Expo earlier this week and met with runners from Heads Together, as well.
Harry told The Telegraph that he hoped his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales would be proud of the work he is doing to bring awareness to mental health. Harry said his mother would be “overwhelmed and hugely encouraged” about the conversation occurring in the United Kingdom about mental health. When referring to the recent interview he took part in, where he revealed his struggles with mental health and the help he sought, Harry said: “I was just doing my bit.” He added that it was his “duty and service” to the nation to share his story.
Prince Harry spoke very candidly about his personal battles with mental health, saying he struggled through “two years of total chaos.” This was all due to the fact he truly had not dealt with the death of his mother. Only after seeking counselling, was he able to finally talk about it.
Harry was asked whether his mother would be proud of the Heads Together Campaign. He said: “I hope so. I think she would be proud of the campaign, proud of everybody involved, proud of us.
“But specifically proud of the UK for having this conversation.
“I think, from her perspective, she would be overwhelmed and hugely encouraged by the fact that the UK – not known for wanting to talk about mental health issues – has suddenly got to this point.”
After he had handed out registration packs to the runners, which contain a timing chip, official number, and a Heads Together headband, the Prince went on to say: “I have shared, just as much as everybody else has, during this campaign.
“And after how many years of listening to stories from veterans and their families and then specifically in this campaign, William, Catherine and I hearing some of the most heart-wrenching stories based [on] what people have experienced and then the mental anguish that is happened from then.
“It was only right to share my experiences to hope to encourage others to come forward and smash that stigma, to make it easier for them to talk about their own experiences – so I was just doing my bit.
“When you have heard so many stories from so many other people, and if you can relate to that then it is only right that you talk about your own experiences.”
Harry was asked if he is in a good place as a result of dating his current girlfriend, American actress, Meghan Markle. He responded by saying: “The point that we have learnt over this campaign is that if you are able and comfortable enough to be able to talk about certain issues, certain experiences, then you come out of it a far better person.”
It was suggested during this interview that The Queen would not be so open. Harry said: “It was the right time to have that conversation and the right way to have it. Every single person that we have met has come to us and shared – we have been asking everybody else to share.
“Now, if there is any way that our experiences in the past can help with that and help other people come forward, and if our experiences and sharing those experiences can help reduce the stigma for the rest of the UK – then that is where the duty and service bit comes in.”
Though the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will be attending the marathon, they will not be running themselves. There are too many security reasons, and plus, they want to draw all the attention to the runners.
“All three of us were tempted [to run],” Harry said. “But, it was probably safer and easier for us not to, and to try and do our best to lead the campaign from the side and let the focus be on the Heads Together runners, which was 200, but is now 700.”
Regarding the current mental health services and the needed changes that should be made to them, Harry said: “Of course it is politically sensitive. It is not our job to make those changes; our job, specifically for this campaign, is to remove the stigma, to allow the conversation to happen.”