Royal wedding: Cressida Bonas arrives at St George's Chapel
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The Duke of Sussex opened up about the “severe anxiety” he felt around performing royal duties in his late twenties and early thirties. He told Oprah Winfrey in their new Apple TV+ series ‘The Me You Can’t See’: “Before I even left the house I was sweating, I was in fight or flight mode. “Panic attacks, severe anxiety ‒ 28 to 32 was a nightmare time for me. I was freaking out every single time I got in a car and every single time I saw a camera.”
Cressida, an actress and model, dated Harry for two years and was his last girlfriend before meeting Meghan Markle. Harry was 27 to 29 years old during their relationship, meaning there was overlap with his “nightmare time”. Harry and Cressida separated amicably and it was believed that media intrusion was a major factor behind the actress and prince saying goodbye. However, according to the book ‘Battle of Brothers’, there might be a little more to it. Cressida reportedly told friends that Harry had a “neurosis” about the media and complained about paparazzi even when there weren’t any there.
Author Robert Lacey argued this may have taken its toll on their relationship.
He wrote: “Even so, Cressida Bonas, his last serious girlfriend before Meghan Markle, came to feel he was a damaged and self-obsessed young man.
“‘No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are,’ she posted enigmatically on her Instagram page, ‘how you treat people ultimately tells it all.’
“She complained to friends that Harry has a neurosis about the media.
“He’d rant and complain about paparazzi lurking where clearly there were none, she said.”
This “neurosis” may make more sense in the light of Harry’s revelations that he was not in a good place mentally at the time.
Harry has said he wanted to leave his life as a royal as early as his twenties.
He has now been in therapy for around four years and has variably credited his brother Prince William and his wife Meghan for getting him to start.
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Harry has always been wary of the media and blamed the paparazzi for the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
He said in an interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby in 2019: “I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.”
However, his attacks on the press have been moved up a notch since stepping down as a senior royal last year.
He has brought it up, not only in his Apple TV+ series, but also in his interview with Oprah Winfrey and on the Armchair Expert podcast.
White House Farm: Cressida Bonas stars in new drama
Whatever their reasons for breaking up, Cressida and Harry remained on good enough terms that she was invited to his wedding to Meghan in 2018.
Last year, she married property investor Harry Wentworth-Stanley.
Meanwhile, her acting career is still going strong, her last key performance playing Sheila Caffell in ITV’s White House Farm last year.
Two years after his split with Cressida, Harry met Meghan on a blind date and never looked back.
Also invited to their wedding was Harry’s other ex-girlfriend, Zimbabwean businesswoman Chelsy Davy.
Chelsy has spoken up about how she found the media intrusion “scary” and “uncomfortable” during her relationship with Harry.
‘The Me You Can’t See’ is available to stream on Apple TV+.
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