‘I was close to a complete breakdown’ – Harry speaks of bottled up grief after Diana’s death

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.

Prince Harry speaks about his own mental health –
he didn’t deal with the death of his mother until he was 28. (ROTA / i-Images)

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.”

William, Kate and Harry set up Heads Together to ‘change the conversation around mental illness’ (@KensingtonRoyal)

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.

We applaud the Prince for being so open with his story, and hope it encourages others to discuss their problems with those they trust. 
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Heather Mon 17 April, 2017 - 1:12 am

Thank you for sharing …I relate to the breakdown and seeking help for mental health problems and co operating with therapy etc

Lourdes Schmitt Gmail Mon 17 April, 2017 - 5:50 am

Thank you Prince Harry. I so admire you and your brother.
I lost my mother at 21, she had been ill with ALS, we didn’t know how long she’d be ill. I traveled to Europe and she died, I didn’t know it for one week. When I arrived she’d been buried that morning. I’m now 67, I can now say that I understand what happened.- I’ve followed counseling and it’s helped me so much.- find the one who understands you, I changed when I needed to.
Never give up. Each day is a treasure onto itself. You and your brother have my heart and very best wishes :-)!!!

Patrick Tee Mon 17 April, 2017 - 12:20 pm

A ton of kudos to you for sharing your grief! It takes a lot of courage to face one’s deeply personal issues, then dealing with them. But if one’s in the public eye, as Prince Harry is, it would take an even greater determination. So full credit to you, Harry!

Vereecken Lambert Mon 17 April, 2017 - 1:12 pm

Thank you, my friend. We both pray for you. We know what it means to lose such a wonderful person. My husband lost his mother after five years of suffering from cancer. it’s difficult, but you know Easter reminds us that that Christ is always at our side. Your friends are also there, even if we don’t see each other.

Heather.Greenall Mon 17 April, 2017 - 2:24 pm

so proud of you. I have in the past had anxiety problems. just juggling so many balls. Your breathing is so tight it hurts. your is smiling down on you. keep the excellent work going. Good luck and God bless.

Pauline Harrington Mon 17 April, 2017 - 3:50 pm

Thankyou for sharing Prince Harry. It’s good to talk it out and seek chrìstian councillors.
Will be praying for complete recovery.
God knows what you are going through. Just talk to Him.
Blessings in Christ.

Bridie Nolan Mon 17 April, 2017 - 4:29 pm

Thanks for sharing prince Harry i still suffering depression it’s a tough battle

Audrey batchelor Tue 18 April, 2017 - 8:23 am

Well done prince harry. For speaking out. I personally don’t think there is enough help. My grandson lost his mother in a house fire when he was 5. He now 15. And I have tried very hard to get him the help that needed. Thank god that you are speaking out.

Jan Hopkinson Thu 20 April, 2017 - 2:36 pm

I would love to have my 14 yr old grandaughter and her friends mentioned. They felt there is to much bullying of mental health issues , so spoke with teachers and have done assemblys concerning this. We are very proud of them. Children need to understand about them, the courses and treatments. Also there is always help available and it’s good to talk.x

Jan Hopkinson Thu 20 April, 2017 - 2:38 pm

Thankyou for all you all do. It’s nice to know your ‘real’. If thats a right thing to say x

Jamey Cavey Fri 21 April, 2017 - 11:05 am

Great young man. I was a cynic till it knocked on our door. It’s a tough gig.


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