Prince Harry’s latest Netflix offering, ‘Heart of Invictus,’ and the notable omission that points to Harry’s selective storytelling. While this documentary series delves into the inspiring journeys of competitors in the run-up to the 2022 Invictus Games, it also brings to light some questionable aspects.
In the world of royal news, déjà vu seems to be a constant companion. Not long ago, we endured nearly six hours of sulking, pouting, and a barrage of poorly-shot iPhone photos in that infamous show titled ‘Harry and Meghan.’ Yes, that was their creatively named debut Netflix docu-series. And now, Harry is back, back on our screens, back on Netflix, and back to portraying the royal family as ineffectual as ever.

On Thursday, Harry’s ‘Heart of Invictus’ documentary series premiered, featuring five episodes chronicling the journey to the 2022 Invictus Games in The Hague and the personal struggles of a select group of competitors. I must warn you, if you decide to watch it, you’ll need tissues, lots of them. The stories are deeply moving, powerful, and at times, heart-wrenching. One standout is the Ukrainian volunteer medic, Julia, whose footage from a frontline field hospital is both haunting and incredibly powerful.

But, alas, I’m not here just to discuss these remarkable individuals and their incredible strength. Instead, we need to talk about Harry, the executive producer, and his apparent attempt at historical revisionism. The glaring omission in ‘Heart of Invictus’ is the royal family and their role in the story of Invictus.

If someone were to watch this series with no prior knowledge of the games, they’d likely walk away thinking Harry single-handedly founded and ran the entire operation, alongside raising kids and caring for dogs. The narrative we repeatedly hear is that Harry went to war in Afghanistan, returned after his second tour, and decided to do something to help veterans and service personnel.

He tells the camera, “All I was trying to work out and navigate was, I’ve got this platform, I just had this experience. What can I do with this?” But what platform is he referring to? The words ‘royal family’ or ‘monarchy’ are noticeably absent throughout the series. If they were mentioned at all, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.

In episode 2, we see footage of Harry giving a speech at the 2018 Veterans’ Mental Health Conference at King’s College London and clips of him hosting a 2017 Buckingham Palace garden party for the Not Forgotten Association, a group that supports service members and veterans. Yet, they conveniently leave out any mention of the royal family’s involvement.

Harry speaks of mental health stigma within the military and society, implying that he alone tackled this issue. However, this narrative couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that both Prince William and Catherine have actively championed mental health initiatives and worked tirelessly to break the stigma surrounding it.

So, while ‘Heart of Invictus’ may be an emotional journey showcasing the resilience of competitors, it’s important to remember that it selectively portrays Harry’s role, conveniently omitting the contributions of others, including the royal family. This raises questions about the intentions behind such storytelling.

It’s evident that the story presented in “Heart of Invictus” conveniently omits the contributions of other members of the royal family when it comes to mental health initiatives. In reality, it wasn’t just Prince Harry who championed this cause; Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, played pivotal roles too.

From the get-go, Catherine became a patron of the Children’s Mental Health charity “Place2Be” and later joined the Anna Freud Center and Maternal Mental Health Alliance. Together, William, Harry, and Catherine established Heads Together in 2016 through their shared Royal Foundation. That same year, they made headlines wearing bands in support of the initiative and sat around a picnic table in Kensington Palace’s private gardens discussing its origins.

In one interview, Harry admitted that it was Catherine’s idea to address mental health, emphasizing the common thread of mental health across their various initiatives. Heads Together launched a national video campaign featuring prominent Brits, encouraging open conversations about depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, challenging societal stigma. The initiative’s success was undeniable.

In 2019, an ad featuring Prince Harry and Meghan promoting the “Every Mind Matters” website crashed due to high demand. That same year, Prince William participated in a documentary, candidly discussing the profound impact of his mother Princess Diana’s death when he was just 15.

This information paints a broader picture of collective efforts within the royal family to tackle mental health challenges. However, “Heart of Invictus” tells a different tale, suggesting that only Harry worked to reframe the conversation on mental health. This selective storytelling overlooks William and Catherine’s significant contributions in this crucial area.

While Prince Harry deserves praise for his work with the Invictus Games, he should acknowledge the role of his family, the Royal Foundation, and the resources and contacts that facilitated the creation of this remarkable endeavor. Transparency and recognition of their part would offer a more complete picture.