Prince Harry has discussed how he “smothers” his children with “love and affection” during an interview with trauma expert Dr Gabor Maté.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, answered questions from Dr Maté as they shared an ‘intimate conversation’ tonight about ‘living with loss and personal healing’.
During the chat, the couple discussed the impact of the royal family’s “multi-generational” lack of physical contact and hugging.
Dr. Mate referred to the passage in Spare where Harry discussed his father, the then Prince Charles, telling him about his mother’s death.
He said, “WWhen I read that passage in the book where you find out about your mother’s death (in the early hours of the morning)… you are alone in your room.
Prince Harry sat down with Dr Gabor Maté tonight for a livestream event on ‘trauma and healing’ (pictured)
“And your father comes in to tell you the news. He touches you on the knee, I think in an encouraging way, and says you’ll be fine, and walks out, and you’re left alone.
And what struck me in that passage, as in so many other passages in the book, is the lack of touch, the lack of a child being held.
“How at one point you wanted to hug your grandma, and you held back because it wasn’t ready.”
Dr. Maté described the lack of touch as “multi-generational,” referring to another passage about Prince Charles as a child interacting with his mother, the Queen.
He said, “Then you describe your father, five years old, Queen Elizabeth is going on a long royal tour. And when she returns, she greets her five-year-old son by shaking his hand.
“So what about the lack of holding and touching and cuddling in his family — and it’s obviously multi-generational — and how do you think that affects a young child now that you’re a father yourself?”
In response, the prince joked, “Well you’re the professional, you can tell me.”
He continued: ‘It leaves me in position now, as a father of two children of my own, cause me to smother them with love and affection.
During the conversation, Harry talked about how he “smothers” his children Archie and Lilibet with love and affection after feeling affected by the royal family’s lack of physical affection (photo L-R: Prince Harry, Archie, Meghan and Lilibet, photo for the Sussexes’ Christmas card for 2021)
“Not suffocating to the point where they’re trying to get away… But in the sense that… as a father, (I) feel a huge responsibility to make sure I don’t pass on any trauma…or any negative experiences that i had as a child or as a man growing up.
“And that’s putting the work in, and that’s being aware of my behavior and my reactions to both of my kids on a daily basis.”
He added that if he didn’t hug his own children, it would have a “similar” impact on them to what he experienced growing up.
During the conversation, the pair referred to a number of other topics, including how Harry had always felt “different” from the rest of his family.
He told Dr. Maté, “I felt a little different from the rest of my family. I felt strange in this container, and I know my mother felt the same way, so it makes sense to me.”
Doctor Maté also told Harry that he saw “a lot of trauma” in his childhood, despite being “a scion of one of the wealthiest families in the world, gilded with power and privilege.”
Prince Harry (pictured, left) spoke to trauma expert Dr Gabor Maté (pictured, right) during this evening’s interview
Harry said he had tried to make his children’s lives better by giving them a different upbringing.
“We only know what we know, and for myself and my wife, we’re doing our best as parents — learning from our own past and maybe overlapping those mistakes, and growing… to break that cycle,” he said.
“You certainly don’t make friends with it, in the short term.”
Discussing his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, 41, Harry said: ‘People have said my wife saved me, I was stuck in this world and she came from another world and helped get me out of there’ , he said.
“But none of the elements of my life would have been possible without my seeing it for myself. My partner is a special person and I am grateful for the space she gives me.’