Prince Harrys pal Iwan Thomas urges critics to remember Duke is a normal person

Iwan Thomas 'loved every minute' of Strictly Come Dancing

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Prince Harry’s friend Iwan Thomas, 48, has issued a reminder that the royal is “normal” despite his status. Discussing mental health exclusively with Express.co.uk, Iwan emphasised that the rich and famous also suffer from issues like depression and anxiety regardless of their status.

Iwan and Harry crossed paths six years ago at a barbecue for the Royal Family’s Heads Together campaign.

The aim of the initiative is to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health and help those who are affected to speak out.

The Olympic sprinter highlighted that anyone can struggle with their mental health as he stressed the importance of reaching out for help when needed.

He said: “At the end of day, you have to remember people like Prince Harry are normal people as well.

“And yes, they do have a huge status, and life is very different for them. But it doesn’t really matter.

“Whether you’re a member of the royal family or you drive a white van for a living or whatever – it doesn’t matter.

“I think depression or anxiety or stress, if it’s going to get you, it’s going to get you and it doesn’t care who you are, or how many zeros you’ve got in your bank.”

Iwan went on to explain that his experience at the barbecue gave Prince Harry and the guests an opportunity to speak out on their concerns.

He said: “So, it was just nice of him to invite me to that barbecue, and for him to open up and allow us to talk as well, because that’s what he did.

“It was a chance for us all to get together and talk about any issues we might have.

“So, I think, unfortunately, this day and age, the amount of stress that is put on everybody, you know, there’s a lot of worries about health, finances… the world is kind of a tough place at the moment.”

The sportsman concluded: “So, I think, unfortunately, you know, mental health issues are going to just keep rising and keep coming up.

“But I think the main thing is people do talk about it, and it’s okay to talk about it.”

Iwan has previously been outspoken on his own mental health and how depression has affected him in the past.

He admitted he faced “some pretty dark years” once he realised his sporting career was coming to an end.

While his impressive career was cut short due to injuries, Iwan has been the recipient of coveted accolades and was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Speaking about his battle with depression, Iwan said there were days when he “didn’t want to wake up”.

He told BT: “I didn’t ever accept that I had anything wrong, I saw it as a bit of a weakness if someone admitted they had a bit of a mental imbalance, anxiety or stress or depression.

“For me, it was in my career when I had loads of injuries as an athlete and it became clear I wasn’t going to get back to running at the top level again, I kind of just buried it away and didn’t really talk to people and pretended I was alright and I was all happy, but behind closed doors, I was going through some pretty dark years.

“I didn’t even talk to my friends or family about it.”

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