The duke of Sussex, AKA Prince Harry, is teaming up with American royalty Oprah Winfrey to work on a series for Apple focused on mental health.
Winfrey hinted at the series when she appeared on stage at last month’s Apple launch event, at which the tech giant announced plans for its forthcoming streaming service, Apple TV Plus. The collaboration with the British royal will be one of two works Winfrey is working on for the platform; the other will investigate sexual harassment in the workplace. At the launch event, Winfrey identified the goal of the mental health-focused series: “If we do our jobs right, we’re going to replace shame, and we’re going to replace stigma, with wisdom and some compassion and with honestly.”
News of the collaboration was announced via the duke and duchess’s new Instagram page (it’s unclear whether Meghan Markle will be involved with the project, although Winfrey is known to have a friendship with the duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland). According to the caption, Winfrey and the duke have been working on the series for “several months” and will be partners, co-creators, and executive producers on it. The series will focus on “both mental illness and mental wellness, inspiring viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each of us faces, and how to equip ourselves with the tools to not simply survive, but to thrive.”
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We are excited to announce that The Duke of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey are partners, co-creators and executive producers on their forthcoming mental health series launching on Apple in 2020. The pair have been developing the series for several months and are looking forward to sharing such an important project on this global platform. The dynamic multi-part documentary series will focus on both mental illness and mental wellness, inspiring viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each of us faces, and how to equip ourselves with the tools to not simply survive, but to thrive. This commitment builds on The Duke of Sussex’s long-standing work on issues and initiatives regarding mental health, where he has candidly shared personal experience and advocated for those who silently suffer, empowering them to get the help and support they deserve. His Royal Highness has spent many years working with communities throughout the UK and young people across the Commonwealth to break the stigma surrounding mental illness and broaden the conversation of mental wellness to accelerate change for a more compassionate, connected and positive society. Quote from HRH: “I truly believe that good mental health – mental fitness – is the key to powerful leadership, productive communities and a purpose-driven self. It is a huge responsibility to get this right as we bring you the facts, the science and the awareness of a subject that is so relevant during these times. 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 alongside Oprah on this vital series.”
The British royals are notoriously buttoned-up when it comes to discussions around mental health, but in recent years Harry, alongside the duke and duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton), have helped spearhead Heads Together, a campaign that seeks to tackle mental illness stigmas and fund new mental health services, according to its website. William and Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, was also outspoken about mental health; in recent years Harry has spoken openly about his own struggles, and also organized mental health services for military veterans via his Invictus Games Foundation.
The yet-untitled, multi-part series is also a huge get for Apple, whose foray into streaming will be marked by the launch of the show in 2020. The tech titan’s service is poised to compete with Netflix, as well as Amazon and HBO, and attaching a powerhouse trio to its debut content project is no doubt a sign that it means business.
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