Prince Harry has said he showers his children with affection to avoid passing on any “traumas” or “negative experiences” from his own upbringing.
Speaking about grief, he said his wife Meghan had “saved me” – and that he feared losing his memories of his mother, Diana, in therapy.
But the Duke of Sussex said he was not a “victim” or seeking sympathy.
He spoke in an online interview with Dr Gabor Maté, an author on trauma and addiction.
The fireside discussion in California was a follow-up to the bombshell memoir, Spare. Prince Harry revealed that his own reaction to the book’s publication was to feel “incredibly free”.
“I felt a huge weight off my shoulders,” he told Dr Maté, describing the book as an “act of service” to help others break the taboo about speaking about mental health problems.
It was a discussion about his emotional feelings, therapy and thoughts on mental health – but did not go into recent royal revelations, such as whether or whether he would attend his father’s coronation.
There were no mentions of how the Royal Family, including his brother, had felt about the tell-all memoir.
Prince Harry described growing up “feeling different” within his family – and had a sense of living in a disconnected “bubble”, which therapy had helped him burst.
In front of an international online audience, he was asked about whether he had experienced an emotionally distant childhood, with a lack of hugs and demonstrations of affection.
He said that with his own children, he was “making sure that I smother them with love and affection”.
“As a father I feel a huge responsibility to ensure that I don’t pass on any traumas or… negative experiences that I’ve had as a kid,” he said.
He spoke repeatedly about the importance of therapy, even though it could drive a wedge between him and other relations.
But he said that he wrongly feared that it would erode his feelings about his mother, Diana, who died when he was aged 12.
“One of the things I was most scared about was losing the feeling that I had of my mum… whatever I had managed to hold onto of my mother,” said Prince Harry.
But he hadn’t lost those feelings and had come to realise “that actually she just wanted me to be happy”, he told Dr Maté.
The prince spoke about being “eternally grateful” for his wife Meghan in changing his perspective, calling her an “exceptional human being”.
“I was stuck in this world, and she was from a different world and helped draw me out of that,” said Prince Harry.
But he said meeting Meghan had given him a “crash course” in the experience of racism, which he described as “pretty shocking”.
The trauma expert also raised the issue of Prince Harry’s military service in Afghanistan, a Western intervention that Dr Maté said he himself had not supported.
In response, Prince Harry said that many people in the UK “assumed that everybody that was serving was for the war”.
But he said: “Once you sign up and you do what you’re told to do, so there was a lot of us that didn’t necessarily agree or disagree, but you were doing what you were trained to do. You’re doing what you were sent to do.”
To watch the online interview, the audience had to buy a copy of Prince Harry’s best-selling memoir, which had made headlines with its unprecedented account of tensions between the royals and personal revelations.
It included claims of a physical altercation with his brother Prince William, and recorded his experiences of taking drugs and losing his virginity.