The Truth About Prince Harry's Past Drug Use

Things seem to be finally taking shape for Prince Harry, the recently-estranged royal who decided to give up on his royal duties in 2020 with wife Meghan Markle. The power couple's move to the United States and their signing of a multi-million deal with Netflix to produce short films and documentaries has everyone talking. Besides, their son Archie is also growing up, and Meghan's expecting to be a mother once more. One could say things are finally looking up for Harry!

However, the Harry we know now is quite different from the boy he was around two decades ago. The tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997 opened gaping wounds in a young Harry, and the duke has spoken openly about how her death affects him to this day. That fact, coupled with the extreme public scrutiny that comes with being royalty, took its toll on a young Harry. When the young prince experimented with drugs, it became national — and international — news.

So how did the young prince find himself in the middle of drug usage — and how serious was it? How did his father, Prince Charles, react to his drug habits? Now that Harry is 36 years old, he has been reflecting on his past and is quite vocal about it. As Harry describes, it all happened "all of a sudden."

Prince Harry went 'wild' with his drugs and alcohol

The Duke of Sussex appeared on Dax Shepherd's "Armchair Expert" podcast, where he opened up on his past experiences and trouble with drugs and alcohol.

Prince Harry told Shepherd that he wouldn't have had the awareness of why he was doing things when he was "going wild" with drug use. "It's like why am I actually doing this? In the moment it's like, this is fun. I'm in my 20s — it's what you're supposed to do," Harry said (via the Daily Mail), adding that a lot of people who do drugs and consume a lot of alcohol "wouldn't have the awareness" at the time of doing it.

This is not the first time that Harry has been linked to drinking and doing drugs. A recent documentary on Channel 5 titled "Prince Harry: The Troubled Prince" talked about the things that may have led to Harry's trouble with drugs and alcohol. "You can really understand how a lonely, privileged unhappy Prince would end up drinking and partying and taking cannabis to fill those hours and hang out with people he thought really liked or even loved him," Daisy McAndrew said on the program (via Daily Mail), referring to Harry's youth which saw him go through the loss of his mother.

Prince Charles took a young Prince Harry to a rehab clinic

Prince Harry's indulgence in drugs and alcohol did not remain a secret to Prince Charles for long. When the Prince of Wales discovered that his son, who was 17 when the story broke, had been regularly indulging in alcohol and cannabis use, he took matters into own hands and arranged a visit to Featherstone Lodge, a detox center in south London for heroin addicts.

In 2002, The Guardian quoted royal sources, saying that Harry had confessed to "experimenting" with cannabis at his father's Highgrove home, as well as drinking a lot at private parties and at a local pub. The outlet referred to the news as "highly embarrassing for the royal family" and noted that the troubled prince had found a less-than-ideal way to cope with the loss of his mother.

In the same article, The Guardian quoted a source from The News of the World. "Since Princess Diana died, there has been a family rule that when Prince Harry is home from school, his father is at home at Highgrove," they explained. However, things began to change as Harry grew older and Charles found himself more occupied with business trips to London. "So for the first time Prince Harry found himself occasionally at home alone at Highgrove and was encouraged to have friends round to keep him company," the source said, adding that the Prince fell in with a "bad lot" between June and July 2001 and even got involved in a drunken fight at the inn.

Prince Harry's new friend encouraged him to try cannabis

According to The News of the World (via The Guardian) in 2002, one of Prince Harry's new friends encouraged him to try cannabis at the back of a pub during a private party in Tetbury. And it was then that a Royal Staff smelled it and informed Prince Charles. "Although his friends smoked at parties at Highgrove, Harry was mindful only to smoke in private with close friends in the local area," an aide to Prince Charles confirmed to the publication.

Aware of Harry's newly acquired taste in cannabis, his father asked Harry's elder brother, Prince William, to speak to Harry about spending time at the rehab clinic so that he could become more aware of the potential dangers of using drugs.

"There is no point in hiding the truth. These are the facts — let people make their own judgment," Charles reportedly told aides. Meanwhile, St James's Palace said: "This is a serious matter which was resolved within the family and is now closed." 

Even if Harry's personal life has continued to be the subject of international fascination, at least the details of that have changed in the years since his father's interference.