How Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s mental health series came to be

By Zach Harper

Oprah Winfrey has spent the last week talking about her new project with Prince Harry, and she’s made it sound even more incredible. Last week, the dynamic duo announced they're teaming up on a new mental health series for Apple TV+. The as-yet-untitled project will launch in 2020, and Harry said it would show “unparalleled human spirit fighting back from the darkest places, and the opportunity for us to understand ourselves and those around us better.”

It sounds like an incredibly valuable initiative, and now Oprah has given us some insight into how it came to be! On CBS This Morning last week, she told good friend Gayle King it all started with a conversation she had with the dad-to-be.

Oprah on stage at an event announcing Apple TV+ at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. in March. Photo: © Noah Berger / AFP / Getty Images

“I actually asked him, ‘What do you think are the most important issues facing the world right now?’ He said, ‘There are two: climate change and mental wellness, mental fitness,’” Oprah said. “As you know, he’s spoken about his own issues and what he went through after his mother died and how being able to talk about it has benefitted him. And so it’s a passion of his.

“At the end of the conversation, I said, ‘I’m going to be doing this thing with Apple. It’s a big concern of mine, too. I want to try to erase the stigma,’” Oprah continued. “And he said at the end of the conversation, ‘If there’s anything I can do to help.’ And I go, ‘As a matter of fact…’”

MORE: Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey are teaming up for an incredible project

Oprah told Gayle she and Harry have since had several secret meetings in London to plan and put the series together, and have met with the crew about their directions they want to take the series. On The Daily Show, she told host Trevor Noah she couldn’t say enough good things about the prince’s work ethic.

“I want everybody to know that, first of all, I don’t do or engage in anything unless I’m giving 100 per cent. He feels the same,” she said, according to E!. “And so he is a great partner in helping us decide who we’re going to interview, how it’s going to be interviewed, what subjects we’re going to be covering.”

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Not much else is known about what specific mental health-related topics the series will cover or who Oprah and Harry will interview. HELLO!UK understands the prince has asked for donations to mental health charities in exchange for his involvement in the poignant program, which will begin production this summer. Oprah says she hopes it destroys a lot of shame people still feel when discussing mental health issues.

Harry attended the Veterans’ Mental Health Conference at King’s College in March. Photo: © Gareth Fuller / Getty Images

“Harry and I are going to normalize it to the point that people will be like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a mental illness!’” she said on The Daily Show, E! reports. “That’s what you want, to call it out to the point where it’s no longer such a stigmatized big deal, it’s no longer a taboo.”

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Harry said he hopes it does the same when he announced the project on Instagram last week. “I truly believe that good mental health – mental fitness – is the key to powerful leadership, productive communities and a purpose-driven self,” he said in a post on the account he shares with Duchess Meghan. “Our hope is that this series will be positive, enlightening and inclusive – sharing global stories of unparalleled human spirit fighting back from the darkest places, and the opportunity for us to understand ourselves and those around us better. I am incredibly proud to be working with Oprah on this vital series.”

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