Prince Harry, at the age of 32, recently said that at one point in his life, he “wanted out” of the royal life. It’s a life about which he still feels some ambivalence, but he has found meaning in his role by using it to do things for which he feels a passion. The death of his mother, Princess Diana, at the age of 12 hurt him deeply, and there are things about it that he feels were inappropriate but happened because he was a royal. Since then he has buried his grief, sought to find some purpose in life, received help for mental and emotional struggles, and finally arrived at an acceptance of his position and ideas about what he wants to do in that position both now and in the future.
Harry recently spoke to Daily Mail very frankly about his life over the last 20 years. The death of his mother was the beginning of years of struggling with who he is and what that means. The prince said this about Diana’s funeral.
“William and I were 14 and 12 when our mother died and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television. I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. It certainly wouldn’t happen today.”
It’s a statement that is consistent with other comments Prince Harry made about being a royal. He believes that the British monarchy is valuable in the 21st century, but that it needs to change, even stating that it can’t continue functioning in the manner in which it has functioned under Queen Elizabeth. Which is not to say that he has any negative feelings toward her whatsoever, in fact, it is his respect for her that kept him from pursuing life as a commoner. Prince Harry wanted to help her in her role and wanted to continue the work that his mother began through charities he cares about deeply.
The royal also described how much he enjoyed his time in the Army and how upset he was when news of his enlisting broke and forced him to be pulled out for security reasons.
“Being in the Army was the best escape I’ve ever had. I felt as though I was really achieving something. I have a deep understanding of all sorts of people from different backgrounds and felt I was part of a team. I wasn’t a prince, I was just Harry.”
Prince Harry has admitted that for many years he did not deal with his grief from Diana’s death and came close to a breakdown on multiple occasions. It was because of encouragement by William that he finally reached out for help with mental health issues he was experiencing. The prince credits that help with getting to a place where he was able to find a purpose in his royal role. Harry has dedicated himself to causes associated with injured servicemen and servicewomen and mental health issues.
On a lighter note, Prince Harry revealed that he is a fan of the series The Crown. He added, however, that he wishes they had created only one season and that “they absolutely must not move on to the younger generation.”
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