Prince Harry has talked about the anguish of having to participate in his mother Diana’s funeral service, saying, “[No] child should be asked to do that.”
The image of a 12-year-old Harry walking behind his mother’s casket through the streets of London after her funeral service remains one of the saddest and most popular scenes of mourning in recent times. On September 6, 1997, Prince Harry, with head bowed and fists clenched, marched alongside his brother, then-15-year-old Prince William; his father, Prince Charles; his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh; and his uncle, Charles Spencer. They followed Princess Diana’s casket out of Westminster Abbey and through the heart of London.
Diana had been killed in a car crash in Paris seven days earlier. Her funeral drew huge crowds onto the streets, with millions more watching on television.
In a recent interview with Newsweek, the 32-year-old revealed his feelings about that day.
“My mother had just 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,” Prince Harry said.
“I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
Over the last year, Harry has talked about being depressed for decades after Princess Diana’s death, and finally, at the age of 28, seeking professional help on William’s advice. He has revealed he used to have panic attacks and that he came close to a breakdown on several occasions.
But now that he is in a better place, Harry is looking towards the future. In the interview, he said that the monarchy is “a force for good” and that he, Prince William, and the Duchess of Cambridge are involved in modernizing the institution.
Harry also shared that he doesn’t think anyone in the royal family really wants the throne, but that they are intent on fulfilling their duties.
“We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people,” he said.
“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”
Prince Harry credits his late mother for teaching him and William how to stay grounded despite being born into the royal family. He recalled that Princess Diana took it upon herself to make sure that he and his brother would know what an “ordinary life” is. According to the prince, his mother would bring him and William to see homeless people and such, and that because of this, he has grown up “not completely cut off from reality.”
According to Prince Harry, people would be amazed to find that he and William live ordinary lives.
“I do my own shopping.”
“Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone,” he said.
“But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too. Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
Harry’s insistence on living an ordinary life seems to include swerving away from what would be considered a monarchy-approved love life. His current girlfriend, Suits actress Meghan Markle, is American and a divorcee.
But royal insiders claim that Prince Harry isn’t rushing to make things between him and Markle official. The two are still reportedly trying to figure out how to have an “ordinary relationship” in such an extraordinary setting.
[Featured Image by Adam Butler/AP Images]