In an effort to mend the image of his mother, Princess Diana, Britain’s Prince Harry intends to mark his 18th birthday next Sunday with a series of public appearances that will pay tribute to Diana’s devotion to philanthropy, a spokeswoman for the royal family tells Reuters.
“This is his way of reminding people of all the good things she did in her life,” said the spokeswoman, who added: “Yes, he has been upset.”
What has been particularly upsetting, according to the news service, was the publication — on the fifth anniversary of her death at the end of last month — of a book by one of Diana’s former bodyguards, Ken Wharfe. The tell-all was reported to have outraged Harry and his older brother, Prince William, 21. (Their father is Prince Charles, 53.)
In Wharfe’s book, the author describes the time Diana let him see her naked and how she once leapt off a balcony to escape the prying eyes of the paparazzi. He also once found her hiding and crying over her husband’s longtime affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
The spokeswoman tells Reuters that the public appearances were the young prince’s idea and that his father was greatly pleased by Harry’s efforts. Though no schedule is being announced, it is expected that Harry will pay tribute to Diana’s work on behalf of children’s, AIDS and anti-landmine charities.
He is also expected to work on improving his own image — that as a royal wild child. The younger son of Charles and Diana caused headlines on both sides of the Atlantic when it was revealed last January that he has smoked cannabis and was seen drinking at a pub (he’s still underage).