During the first three episodes of Apple TV’s The Me You Can’t See, Harry addressed traumatic memories from his childhood, including the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and harassment on social media of he and his wife Meghan.
“Every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, to stop just got met with total silence or total neglect,” he told Winfrey, referring to his attempts to get assistance from his family with the attacks levelled at the Sussexes online.
“We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job.”
The duke also told Winfrey his family did not speak about Diana’s death and expected him to just deal with the resulting press attention and mental distress.
The series comes after Harry earlier in May appeared to suggest his father, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had failed as parents.
Speaking on the Armchair Expert podcast, the duke said he wanted to “break the cycle” of “genetic pain and suffering” for the sake of his own children.
He said of Charles: “He’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids?”
He picked up the theme with Winfrey, telling her in the series released on Friday: “My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I, ‘Well it was like that for me so it’s going to be like that for you.’”
“That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer, in fact quite the opposite – if you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences you had, that you can make it right for your kids,” he said.
The now 36-year-old said his family told him to “play the game” and life would improve.
But he objected, telling Winfrey: “I’ve got a hell of a lot of my mum in me.
“The only way to free yourself and break out is to tell the truth.”
Harry told Winfrey he would “never be bullied into silence” in the future.
He said he did not go to his family when Meghan felt suicidal because he was ashamed the situation had got “that bad” and also suspected the royals would not have been able to help.
The duke said: “That was one of the biggest reasons to leave, feeling trapped and feeling controlled through fear, both by the media and by the system itself which never encouraged the talking about this kind of trauma.
“Certainly now I will never be bullied into silence.”
Harry also addressed traumatic memories from his childhood including the moment he was famously photographed with his brother, father, uncle and grandfather walking behind Diana’s coffin at her funeral.
“For me the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horses’ hooves going along the Mall,” the 36-year-old told his series co-host Oprah Winfrey.
“It was like I was outside of my body and just walking along doing what was expected of me. (I was) showing one tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing: This was my mum – you never even met her.”
The series focuses on mental health, with Harry telling Winfrey the trauma of the loss caused him to suffer anxiety and severe panic attacks from ages 28 to 32.
“I was just all over the place mentally,” he said.
“Every time I put a suit on and tie on … having to do the role, and go, ‘right, game face’, look in the mirror and say, ‘let’s go’. Before I even left the house I was pouring with sweat. I was in fight or flight mode.”
He said: “I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs, I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling.”
He told Winfrey he would drink a week’s worth of alcohol on a Friday or Saturday night “not because I was enjoying it but because I was trying to mask something”.
During the programme the duke also accused of “total neglect” when his wife Meghan was feeling suicidal amid harassment on social media.
That alleged abandonment was one of the “biggest reasons” the couple left the UK, Harry said.
“Certainly now I will never be bullied into silence,” he added.
Pop superstar Lady Gaga and actress Glenn Close also featured in the documentaries, with Gaga discussing her serious mental health struggles after she was raped as a teenager.
The documentary series will focus on mental illness and mental wellness and aims to inspire viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges people face and how to equip themselves with the tools to thrive.
Hours before it aired, Harry joined his brother William in criticising the BBC following an inquiry which found the broadcaster covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure his headline-making 1995 interview with their mother.