In an interview with The Telegraph, Prince Harry has admitted he did not deal with the trauma of his mother’s death until he was in his late 20s, when there was ‘two years of chaos’, after he bottled up his emotions for decades.
Harry was just 12 when Diana, Princess of Wales, passed away in 1997, and it will come as no surprise to learn that he struggled with the grief. But the trouble came just a few years ago, aged 28, when the Prince began to deal with the grief of losing his mother.
In the 30 minute interview, the former soldier said he was “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions” because of living in the public eye, combined with the loss. He said he experienced anxiety during Royal engagements and felt ‘very close to punching someone’ and so boxing became an outlet for the Prince’s aggression, the interview reveals.
Harry described the ‘quite serious effect’ losing his mother had on his life in a podcast, ‘Bryony Gordon’s Mad World’, a new series of high-profile interviews about mental health.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” Harry, now 32, explained. “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?”
‘”I thought, it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back.”
This personal admission may go some way to explaining the drive of Prince William, Catherine and Harry in supporting mental health causes, also trying to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
“I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me,” the fifth in-line to the throne said of the period of ‘chaos’.
Harry admitted to seeing a professional during this tough period, and that brother William, and others close to him, encouraged him to seek help: “I’ve done that [seen a ‘shrink’] a couple of times, more than a couple of times, but it’s great.”
Harry spent 10 years in the army, completing one tour of Afghanistan, and spending a period of several weeks there on another secret tour before his cover was blown. Having had a string of serious girlfriends since his early 20s, the Prince is now dating American actress, Meghan Markle, star of legal drama Suits. Tabloids report that the couple are very much enjoying one another’s company, and may be ready to settle down.
You can listen to the interview here.