Skip to main site content.
Prince Harry. (Photo by Andy Commins - Pool/Getty Images)

'Total chaos'

Prince Harry opens up about the emotional fallout of losing his mother at the age of 12

By WITW Staff on April 17, 2017

In an uncharacteristically candid interview with British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Prince Harry opened up about the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana, when he was just 12 years old. The prince, now 32, went into great detail about how the tragedy upended his life and his mental health.

“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 recalled about his teenage years and the period into his early twenties, adding that he outwardly pretended his life was great. Harry was candid about the range of emotions, including anger, he went through even years after the death of his mother. He often found himself “on the verge of punching someone.” The culmination of the inner turmoil, he said, was “two years of total chaos” during which time his behavior made for some salacious headlines and photos.

Prince Charles touches the shoulder of his son Harry as his other son Prince William watches the hearse bearing his mother Diana, Princess of Wales being driven from Westminster Abbey following her funeral service September 6, 1997. Millions of mourners lined the route to pay their respects. (Reuters).

But, he eventually sought help from a therapist and confronted his feelings 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 in the interview. “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,” Harry said.

Speaking out in such candid terms about one’s own mental health is a departure from royal social protocol, but having done so is winning Harry plaudits. British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday commended the prince for speaking out candidly about his troubles. She said it was “a really important moment” for the country. Indeed, following her statement, numerous government officials have taken to Twitter to also praise Harry for his courage and offer their own similar stories.

Watch the video below for more on the story.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


Remembering Princess Diana

The rise of Charlotte