Royal Family Reportedly ‘Distressed and Angry’ at Harry for Comparing His Life to a Zoo

Prince Harry’s recent conversation on Dax Shepard’s hit podcast, Armchair Expert, has reportedly ruffled some feathers in the royal family. 

In his chat with Shepard, the Duke of Sussex called his former life as a working member of the royal family “a mix between The Truman Show and being in a zoo.” (The Truman Show, for the unfamiliar, is a movie starring Jim Carrey as a man who grows up on the set of a reality television show; Truman doesn’t realize it until adulthood, but everyone in his life is an actor playing out a predetermined role for a live audience watching from home.) According to royals expert Katie Nicholl, this comparison bothered Prince Harry’s brother, Prince William, and father, Prince Charles.

“I think the problem with the podcast and the things Harry has said—particularly about the institution, feeling like he was in The Truman Show, feeling like he was in a zoo—it has echoes of what he said on Oprah, that he, and his brother, and his father, feel trapped by the institution,” Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight, though this seems to be her expert opinion and not based on anything from the royals themselves.  

Nicholl says feeling trapped “may be how Harry feels, but I don’t think it’s how William and Charles feel.”

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Prince Harry also talked about a “cycle” of “genetic pain” in his chat with Shepard, presumably referring to the tabloid scrutiny each generation of royals seems to inherit. “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,” he said, “I’m going to make sure that I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on. There’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway. We as parents should be doing the most we can to try and say, ‘You know what? That happened to me. I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.’”

Of this, Nicholl said, “It does seem that this is yet another example of Prince Harry criticizing the royal family, in particular his father, who of course came under some fire in that Oprah interview. I think there is that sense again that he feels he’s been let down by his father in this interview. That’s going to be incredibly hurtful for the Prince of Wales.”

A separate source told ET the royal family is “distressed and angry” over the Armchair Expert interview and that the “zoo” comment in particular was “hurtful.” 

“I think it goes without saying that clearly some of the things that he has raised in this podcast have been hurtful to the royal family, I think particularly for the queen and Prince Charles, who are very private when it comes to their personal emotions,” Nicholl added, noting that Prince Harry’s revealing interviews are in some ways at odds with his stated desire for privacy. “This idea of Harry venting, airing publicly, his private grievances is going to be problematic,” she said.

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