Prince Harry Opens Up About Emotional Struggles after Afghanistan Military Tour


Last Updated: August 30, 2023, 15:25 IST

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Prince Harry served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, first as a forward air controller in 2007-2008 and then as an Apache helicopter pilot in 2012-2013. (Reuters File Photo)

The Duke of Sussex opens up about his mental health journey and trauma in Heart of Invictus docuseries on Netflix

Prince Harry has opened up about the emotional challenges he encountered after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan during his time with the British army. Looking back on his mother’s death when he was 12 years old, the Duke of Sussex revealed that the trauma resurfaced upon his return from the war-torn country.

In his “Heart of Invictus” docuseries on Netflix, Harry revealed how the lack of a support structure and expert advice led him to suppress his emotions, Sky News reported. He said that mental illness was a “dirty word” when he first joined the military, adding that he wants to cure the “stigma” around it.

He discussed how his Afghanistan tour in 2012 led to an “unraveling,” making him confront emotions dating back to 1997 when he lost his mother, Princess Diana. Despite his initial silence on the matter, Harry said the unresolved trauma eventually surfaced, overwhelming him.

“Look, I can only speak for my personal experience, my tour of Afghanistan in 2012 flying Apaches, somewhere after that there was an unravelling and the trigger for me was actually returning from Afghanistan,” he said.

Prince Harry undertook two deployments in Afghanistan at a time when the democratically elected government in the country was fighting the Taliban, along with its Western allies. From 2007 to 2008, he had functioned as a forward air controller. From 2012 to 2013, he served as an Apache helicopter pilot. His deployment was in Camp Bastion in a Taliban stronghold then.

Harry’s first deployment saw him encounter several close calls to death. One instance involved a close call with a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade, and another necessitated an emergency landing due to gunfire damage. During the second deployment was less eventful, the Duke remained exposed to combat risks. Engaging in firefights and airstrikes, he coped with the pressures of being a target for the Taliban.

The Heart of Invictus docuseries, which took over two years to create, follows Invictus Games participants worldwide as they prepare for the tournament Harry founded for wounded armed forces personnel. In the series, the former British Royal introduced himself as a husband, father of two, and a supporter of the Invictus cause.

Earlier, in his memoir titled “Spare: A Memoir,” Harry disclosed that he was responsible for the deaths of 25 people while stationed in the landlocked country. He revealed that while he didn’t find joy in taking lives, he believed it was his responsibility to safeguard his fellow soldiers.

RohitRohit is a journalist with a passion for world affairs and a love for football. Follow him on Twitter at @heis_rohit…Read More



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