Prince Harry’s new Netflix project has sparked accusations that he has taken a swipe at the royal family, leading one PR expert to tell Newsweek: “He keeps falling into the same traps.”

Heart of Invictus follows the journey of competitors in Harry’s Invictus Games tournament for wounded veterans, including U.K., American and Ukrainian teams, among others.

And in the show Harry described how “no one around me really could help” and there was no “support structure” when he was trying to come to terms with repressed grief from the death of his mother following his return from a 2012-13 tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The references were widely interpreted as a swipe at palace life and his family in a single episode of a five-part series that otherwise strikes a positive tone.

Prince Harry Shoots Bow and Arrow
Prince Harry tries his hand at archery in The Hague, the Netherlands, on May 9, 2019, in the run up to the Invictus Games. Harry’s latest Netflix project follows the tournament, which took place in 2022 because of COVID.

Mark Borkowski, PR consultant and author of Improperganda, told Newsweek: “If he wants to establish himself as a brand he needs to have a clean break away from these issues.”

This is Harry’s third Netflix show, after his first, Harry & Meghan, included royal bombshells in December 2022 and was followed up in January by his book Spare which was even more damning of his family.

They appeared to cause a significant dent in Harry and wife Meghan Markle’s popularity, though the polls have swung back around in their favor since.

Heart of Invictus has all the hallmarks of a more positive project, aside from the single part that caught the attention of news organizations.

Harry said: “Losing my mum at such a young age, the trauma that I had I was never really aware of. It was never discussed, I didn’t really talk about it and I suppressed it like most youngsters would have done, but when it all came fizzing out, I was bouncing off the walls.

“Like, ‘what is going on here? I’m now feeling everything as opposed to being numb.’ The biggest struggle for me was no one around me really could help.

“I didn’t have that support structure, that network or that expert advice to identify what was actually going on with me.

“Unfortunately, like most of us, the first time you really consider therapy is when you’re lying on the floor in the fetal position, probably wishing that you dealt with some of this stuff previously. And that’s what I really want to change.”

Harry’s words sparked condemnation from familiar sources, including British newspapers The Sun and the Daily Mail, who pointed out Prince William had urged Harry to seek professional help in 2017.

Borkowski was supportive of the elements of the documentary that focused on Harry’s positive work with Invictus but critical of the fact Harry had allowed historic “bitterness” to creep in.

He said: “[Harry and Meghan] have got a lot to prove with their content, there was a lot of hype about Netflix giving them this format.

“He’s got to move on from these things. It just seems that anything positive that he sets out to do seems to have this bitterness deeply rooted in any content he produces.

“So, if this might have been a small step towards focusing on his strengths, which is his charity work, why, oh why, oh why, isn’t there someone helping him by being a critical friend to him, giving him the strategic point of view that the choice of language and what you say is instantly hoovered up by channels he despises.

“He keeps falling into the same traps that he sets for himself because he isn’t able to put distance between many of the cliche’s that weigh him down.”

“There’s so much anger,” Borkowski continued, “so much unresolved stuff, that it filters into things that even could be successful.

“Every move they make is seized upon. He’s really got to focus on his strengths and what he’s learning from this is that everything he does is still going to face a huge amount of scrutiny. It must be debilitating for him to know that anything they do is met with so much hostility.”

The documentary included footage from the war in Ukraine, interspersed with Harry’s own interactions with Invictus Games competitors.

It also tells some heart-warming individual stories, demonstrating how much the games mean to those who take part.

However, once again, the documentary has led to allegations that Harry’s account of his experiences with his family has not been fair.

The prince’s book, Spare, does say William urged him to get professional help, though it was only when Meghan also advised him to see a therapist that he finally made progress.

“I’ve tried therapy, I told her,” he wrote. “Willy told me to go. Never found the right person. Didn’t work. No, she said softly. Try again.”

The latest debate comes as Harry is preparing for his first trip to Britain since King Charles III’s coronation, in May.

The prince will appear at the WellChild Awards in support of a charity that he is patron of, which helps seriously ill children live at home with their families rather than in hospital.

Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email Support@springupdates.com. We’d love to hear from you.


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