Prince Harry is out to "break the cycle" of dysfunctional royal parenting after Prince Charles treated him "the way that he was treated" by his own parents.
Harry, 36, spoke in Thursday's episode the "Armchair Expert" podcast with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman about how he has chosen to parent his 2-year-old son, Archie, differently than he was raised by Charles.
"Isn’t life about breaking the cycle?” he said. “There’s no blame. I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure that I break that cycle so I don’t pass it on basically.”
Charles described his own upbringing under Queen Elizabeth II and the late Prince Philip to authorized biographer Jonathan Dimbleby as being "easily cowed by the forceful personality of his father" and often reduced to tears, according to a 2017 Vanity Fair article.
Charles said Philip was "well-meaning but unimaginative," and friends of Charles remembered his father "belittling" and "bullying" his son, according to Dimbleby. Charles also called the queen "not indifferent so much as detached."
Harry is hoping to avoid similar issues with his own son and the baby girl that he and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are expecting.
"There's a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway," Harry said. "As parents we should be doing the most that we can to try to say, 'You know what, that happened to me, I'm going to make sure it doesn't happen to you.'"
The more Harry learned about his father's life, the more he wanted to change his own trajectory.
"It's really hard to do, but for me it comes down to awareness," he said. "I never saw it, I never knew about it, and then suddenly I started to piece it all together and go, 'OK, so this is where he went to school, this is what happened, I know this bit about his life.'
"I also know that's connected to his parents, so that means that he's treating me the way that he was treated, which means, how can I change that for my own kids? Well, here I am. I've now moved my whole family to the U.S."
Harry and Meghan have been living in California since making a controversial split and shedding their duties as senior members of the royal family.
"That wasn't the plan, but sometimes you've got to make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first," Harry said.
The Duke of Sussex described growing up as a royal as "a mix between ‘The Truman Show’ and being in a zoo."
He also shared what it was like when he and Meghan were first dating, which included meeting up in disguise at a supermarket in London and pretending not to know each other to avoid the press.