Prince Harry Bonds with Robin Williams' Son Zak Over 'Shared Experience' of Grieving a Famous Parent
Prince Harry's mental health docuseries debuted a new companion episode
Prince Harry and Zak Williams are bonding over their "shared experience" of grieving a famous parent.
After debuting The Me You Can't See docuseries on Apple TV+ last week, a companion episode called The Me You Can't See: A Path Forward premiered on Friday. The town hall format discussion brought Prince Harry, 36, and Oprah, 67, together again with advisors and participants from the multi-part docuseries for a wide-ranging conversation about mental health.
Prince Harry asked Zak, whose father Robin Williams died in 2014 when Zak was 31, about losing a parent who was also a beloved entertainer.
"For my end, it was really hard to separate the initial process of privately grieving versus sharing the grieving with the general public, both the American public and the world," he said. "I had trouble differentiating that grieving process at first. It was really challenging for me. I found myself really emotionally dysregulated, feeling vulnerable and exposed when I wasn't ready to be vulnerable. That created a major challenge for me."
Zak, 38, said he wasn't able to focus on his private grieving process until a year and a half after his father died.
"I didn't recognize that I needed to grieve privately, and so I'm very thankful and appreciative that I did recognize how to set boundaries, I hope they're health boundaries, around grieving personally versus grieving as a community, grieving with the public, grieving with the world," he continued. "I needed that, and I didn't pick up on that initially."
Prince Harry, whose mother Princess Diana died in 1997 when he as 12, said he related to that feeling.
"I think we have a lot of shared experience when you talk about that, when you see so many people around the world grieving for someone they feel as though they knew them better than you did in a weird way because you're unable to grieve yourself," the Duke of Sussex, 36, said. "How are you showing more, more sort of, how are you grieving more for someone who is my parent and I'm unable to grieve myself?"
Earlier in the series, Prince Harry opened up about suppressing his feelings around his mother's death for a long time.
"I don't want to think about her, because if I think about her then it's going to bring up the fact that I can't bring her back and it's just going to make me sad," he said. "What's the point in thinking about something sad, what's the point of thinking about someone that you've lost and you're never going to get back again. And I just decided not to talk about it. No one was talking about it."
Harry was able to confront his emotions through therapy — and now has "no doubt" that Princess Diana would be "incredibly proud" of him.
"I'm living the life that she wanted to live for herself, living the life that she wanted us to be able to live," he said. "So not only do I know that she's incredibly proud of me, but that she's helped me get here. And I've never felt her presence more as I have done over the last year."