Following a whistlestop trip to London for King Charles' coronation, Prince Harry is set to return to the UK again in June, but for a much less jubilant occasion.
The Duke of Sussex will be in London as part of a court case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over alleged unlawful information gathering at its titles, which will see the royal enter the witness box.
This marks the second time Prince Harry has been called to the High Court this year, following his surprise appearance at the Royal Courts of Justice in March to attend a preliminary hearing in his separate claim against Associated Newspapers Limited – the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
Despite this being the Duke of Sussex's second appearance in court, it's unlikely to make it any less stressful, with the royal writing in his memoir Spare, that public speaking brings on panic attacks.
"Hours before a speech or public appearance I'd be soaked with sweat. Then, during the event itself, I'd be unable to think, my mind buzzing with fear and fantasies of running away," he wrote, before adding that wearing a suit also triggers his anxiety.
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"The panic often started with putting on a suit first thing in the morning. Strange—that was my trigger: The Suit. As I buttoned up my shirt I could feel my blood pressure soaring. As I knotted my tie I could feel my throat closing. By the time I was pulling on the jacket, lacing the smart shoes, sweat was running down my cheeks and back," the Prince explained candidly.
Prince Harry also spoke of feeling distressed when he hears cameras – a sound which will undoubtedly greet him when he arrives at court.
"More than anything else I feared cameras. I'd never liked cameras, of course, but now I couldn't abide them. The telltale click of a shutter opening and closing…it could knock me sideways for a whole day," he wrote.
Thankfully, Prince Harry has a few methods to keep him calm under pressure and ease trauma, to help make his court appearance more manageable.
One method he's spoken about openly, including to Oprah, is EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), which involves tapping your hands on your body, or moving your eyes from side to side while replaying the traumatic event.
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It is believed that remembering the event at the same time as doing something mundane, such as tapping on the chest, creates a new default for that memory, which helps our brains deal with trauma and make a panic attack less likely.
Tapping is rapid in terms of the results and has been proven to be more effective at lowering anxiety and stress than traditional talking therapy.
"By getting someone to move their eyes or tapping themselves, it pairs the recognition of the trauma with a powerful memory of being safe [ie. in the therapy room]," said Sanja Oakley, the psychotherapist who treated Prince Harry. "So you can think about the traumatic event without the emotional distress."
Prince Harry could also take stress-easing supplements in the run-up to his trip, a method approved by his wife, Meghan Markle.
Meghan is a fan of the adaptogenic supplement ashwagandha. The ancient herb helps the body adapt to stress. Taking ashwagandha delivers a low daily dose of stress to the body, so when you encounter something stressful, your body is primed to help – we hope Prince Harry has stocked up ahead of his court date!
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