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Prince Harry Opens Up About His Mother’s Death

Prince Harry reveals that he struggled to cope with his mother’s death for years before seeking professional help. He hopes his story encourages others to end the stigma around mental health.

Prince Harry made headlines today after he spoke candidly with British journalist Bryony Gordon about his struggles to cope with his mother’s death. The interview was broadcast in a podcast on the Daily Telegraph. “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,” he said in the interview. 

Princess Diana‘s tragic death on August 31, 1997, following a car accident in Paris sent the world into mourning, and caused 12-year-old Harry to emotionally shut down.

“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 said, explaining his thoughts at the time. “‘It’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back.’ So from an emotional side, I was like, ‘Right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything.’”

He added that he felt like he had been “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions,” and finally sought professional counseling at the urging of his brother Prince William, who told him: “‘Look, you really need to deal with this. It is not normal to think that nothing has affected you.’”

Prince Harry also turned to boxing to help him deal with his grief. “That really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone, so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier,” he said.

He shared his personal story in hopes that it would encourage “people to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues,” according to the Daily Telegraph article. Prince Harry, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, also launched Heads Together, a campaign to end the stigma around mental health.