Author and trauma specialist Gabor Maté, has discussed the negative impact of his interview with Prince Harry promoting the royal’s memoir earlier this year.
Maté claims he “lost” himself and neglected to follow his “gut” over the interview with Harry, which was organized by their joint publisher and streamed globally to a paying audience.
During the event, Maté discussed a number of Harry’s bombshell claims in the Spare memoir, including the mental health impact and trauma of Princess Diana’s death in 1997 on the 12-year-old prince—notably the revelation that Prince Charles (now King Charles III) did not hug his son when he broke the tragic news.
Maté faced a period of intense media attention around the time of the interview, something he has now revealed had a negative impact on his mental health.
In an interview with entrepreneur Steven Bartlett for a new episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast released on Thursday, Maté listed two main drawbacks to his collaboration with Harry, which occurred at a time he was already feeling the negative impacts of his own lengthy book tour focussed on trauma.
The first of these was that he didn’t agree with the idea that people were being asked to pay for access to the discussion.
“I had a gut feeling all along that I shouldn’t agree to doing it the way they set it up,” he said. “The way it was set up was, in order to watch it people had to buy a copy of Harry’s book and I thought this is not fair, four million people have already bought the book, why can’t they watch this interview? Do they have to buy another copy?
“In other words I believed that this should be a free public service, on a part of two people who can have a very interesting conversation, but out of sheer opportunism I agreed to it. So, I didn’t follow my gut feelings, I lost myself even in agreeing to the format.”
Maté added that after the event, both he and Harry wanted the recording of the interview made open for the general public to access for free, however, “the lawyers said you can’t do that because this was advertised as a one-time only event and there could be a class action suit.”
“I agreed to something that I didn’t really like,” he told Bartlett. “Not that I didn’t like the idea of talking with him [Harry] I didn’t like the idea of putting this behind the paywall so I lost myself just in agreeing to it.”
The second drawback to his royal conversation, Maté revealed to Bartlett, was the “demeaning” and “dismissive” reaction from the British press and social media, which included labeling him a “stern, overbearing merchant of pain.”
“It was for the most part so negative and so demeaning and so dismissive and so distorted that I barely even know how to talk about it,” he said.
“I thought by this age I would know better but you know what it really got to me it really got to me.”
The negative impact of press reporting and social media posts is something that Harry has spoken about at length since leaving the monarchy in 2020.
Most recently the prince co-hosted a summit in New York marking World Mental Health Day with Meghan Markle, discussing how children and parents navigate social media and its mental health impact.
The prince’s interview with Maté took place three months after the release of Spare. Though the memoir became the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time, it earned him considerable public backlash.
Reflecting on this and the book, the prince and Maté discussed how trauma can be a unifying part of the human experience.
“I certainly don’t see myself as a victim,” Harry said. “I’m really grateful to be able to share my story in the hope it will help empower, encourage others and hopefully let people understand that, again, back to the human experience, that we are in some shape or form all connected, especially through trauma.”
Regalrumination.com approached representatives of Prince Harry via email for comment.
The Diary of a CEO podcast is available to stream on YouTube.
James Crawford-Smith is Regalrumination.com‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Regalrumination.com‘s The Royals Facebook page.
Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email Support@regalrumination.com. We’d love to hear from you.