James Middleton, brother to Kate Middleton and Pippa Middleton, on how he conquered his battle with depression and anxiety

By Monique Jessen
June 24, 2019 12:48 PM
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Matt Hind

James Middleton is continuing to open up about suffering from depression and anxiety, having recently revealed that in his worse moments he completely shut himself off from his family.

The entrepreneur from Berkshire was catapulted into the public eye when his eldest sister Kate Middleton began dating Prince William in 2003 — something he said he was unprepared for.

“Suddenly, and very publicly, I was being judged about whether I was a success or a failure,” the 32-year-old tells Tatler magazine in the August issue. “That does put pressure on you because in my mind I’m doing this irrespective of my family and events that have happened.”

While his sister and brother-in-law’s passion for the mental health crisis and their charity Heads Together influenced his decision to go public with his own personal health battles, the youngest of the Middleton siblings is understandably guarded when it comes to talking about his family and the royals.

“I lead a separate life to them. If there’s an interest in me, great. If there’s an interest in me because of them, that’s different,” he says.

James Middleton
Matt Hind

In an op-ed piece for the Daily Mail, published in January, James revealed his private battle with depression and how he finally sought getting treatment just over a year ago. In addition to depression, which he called “a cancer of the mind” James, who has suffered from dyslexia since he was a child, was also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder.

“[The depression was] crippling. It’s what keeps you in bed, while anxiety makes you feel guilty for being there. I thought, ‘What do I have to be depressed about?’ I’ve been so lucky with my upbringing, I had all the things I wanted. It’s not that I wanted more, but there was something that wasn’t always there… And the more I ignored it, the more it was taking over.”

His parents Carole and Mike Middleton “knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t want them anywhere near me. I shut myself off, I didn’t communicate with my family at all. But there’s only so long you can hold your breath.”

The businessman, who has credited his dogs, Ella, Luna, Zulu and Mabel in his recovery, said he finally got the help he needed in late 2017, after he had to call the doctor from his car, outside work, feeling unable to get out.

“‘The doctor said, ‘James, are you okay?’ And I said ‘No, I’m not.’ ”

Within an hour he had been referred to a specialist.

After stepping back from the running of his marshmallow business Boomf, starting therapy sessions and taking soul-searching breaks at Glen Affric, the Scottish estate owned by his brother-in-law James Matthews’ family, James, who is happily dating French-born Alizee Thevenet says he feels like he’s on the path to recovery.

“I am happy – I feel like James Middleton again. I feel like I was when I was 13, excited about life. I feel like myself again and I couldn’t ask for more,” he says.

(The full interview can be seen in the August issue of Tatler, available on newsstands and digital download on June 27.)