Prince Harry shares emotional struggles after Diana’s death

  • Apr. 17, 2017 12:30 a.m.

LONDON — It is an image those who saw it will never forget: Prince William and Prince Harry — just boys, really — walking silently behind their mother’s cortege as the world mourned Princess Diana’s death in 1997.

Now Harry has revealed for the first time that losing his mother when he was only 12 left him in emotional turmoil for 20 years, filling him with grief and rage he could only manage after he sought counselling.

Breaking sharply with the royal tradition of maintaining a stoic silence about mental health, the 32-year-old prince told The Daily Telegraph in an interview published Monday that he had nearly suffered multiple breakdowns since his mother’s death.

It was by far the most frank interview of Harry’s life and gives the public a much fuller view of Harry and the inner turmoil he suffered growing up in the public eye after losing his mother.

He told the newspaper he “shut down all his emotions” for nearly 20 years and had been “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.”

He describes a long, painful process of refusing to face his sense of loss that only came to an end when he was in his late 20s and sought professional counselling to cope with the pressures and unhappiness.

“My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?” he said of his teens and 20s, a period in which he embarked on a successful military career but also occasionally attracted unwanted headlines, notably for being photographed playing “strip billiards” in Las Vegas.

In the interview, Harry said he had at times felt “on the verge of punching someone” and had taken up boxing as an outlet for the aggression he felt.

He said the long suppression of his grief eventually led to “two years of total chaos.”

He said he was pretending that life was great until he started counselling and faced his problems head on.

“All of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with,” he said.

Along with his brother Prince William and sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge, Harry has worked with a charity that promotes mental health. They have argued that mental health problems must be given the same priority as other illnesses and should be spoken about openly and without stigma.

Harry has also worked extensively with wounded veterans and has organized the Invictus Games to foster international sporting competition for injured or ill service personnel and veterans.

Harry told interviewer Bryony Gordon, who has written extensively about her own struggles with depression and other issues, that he is in a “good place” now, and praised William for helping him seek help after many years of suffering in silence.

He credited counselling with helping him recover.

“I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else,” he said.

Harry has also formed a romantic relationship with American actress Meghan Markle and in November took the unusual step of chastising the press for harassing her.

Harry and William have both been wary of press coverage, in part because of the way photographers shadowed their mother’s every move.

Just Posted

Accused murderer tells all to Mr. Big undercover officer

Joshua Frank tells undercover police officer he shot the Klaus family

Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre prepares to open

Non-profit will run the facility and agencies will provide staff

Rocky Mountain House man arrested for child luring

A 30-year-old Rocky Mountain House man was arrested after allegedly having explicit… Continue reading

Parkinson association will close offices but maintain services

Offices closing in Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge

WATCH: Central Middle School students’ Christmas tree

A group of Central Middle School students are set to show off… Continue reading

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Blackfalds RCMP arrest “armed and dangerous” man

A 38-year-old man, who police identified as armed and dangerous, was arrested… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s own hammock deer garners celebrity status

After getting tangled in a backyard hammock the deer in Prince Rupert has T-shirts, Facebook page

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month