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Prince Harry’s Most Revealing Quotes About His Near Breakdown: ‘I Refused to Ever Think About My Mom’

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For years after his mother’s death, Prince Harry had his “head in the sand,” he reveals.

Looking back on the years following the tragic loss of his mother, Princess Diana, Harry says he now realizes that he never truly processed his grief until much later on in his life.

In a new interview with The Telegraph, on their Mad World podcast, the prince opened up about struggling to process his grief, the importance of talking about mental health, his work with Heads Together and wanting kids in the future.

Here are Harry’s most moving quotes:

On our collective tendency to keep things bottled up:
“Saying fine is so much better than having to go into the details. Most of us aren’t up for going that deep.”

On how his mother’s death affected him:
“I can safely say that losing my mom 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.”

On when he reached out for help:
“It was only three years ago, from the support around from my brother and other people, saying ‘You really need to deal with this.’ It’s not normal to say that nothing has affected you.”

On how he dealt with his mother’s death initially:
“My way of dealing with it was sticking in my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mom, because why would that help, it’s only going to make you sad, it’s not going to bring her back.”

Tim Graham/Getty

On the effect not dealing with his grief had on him:
“It was 20 years of not thinking about it, and two years of total chaos.”

On how he overcome his grief, and how other people can too:
“There’s nothing better than being able to share your experiences, and ask for advice from someone who has actually bene through it, rather than a compete stranger or someone who doesn’t actually get what you’ve been through.”

On the other side of his grief:
“By the age of 30, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a much better way of life.'”

On how his emotions affected those around him:
“I know that there’s huge merit in talking about your issues, and the only thing about keeping it quiet, it’s only ever going to make it worse. Not just for you, but for everyone else around you, as well, because you become a problem. And I, for a lot of my twenties, was a problem. I don’t know how I dealt with it.”

On how he leaned on his brother, Prince William:
“My brother was a huge support to me, and kept saying, ‘This is not right, it’s not normal, you need to talk about this stuff, it’s okay.'”

On using his influential position for good:
“One of the best things ever, I think it’s what my mother believed in, if you’re in a position of privilege or a position of responsibility, and you can put your name to something you genuinely believe in, and that other believe in, and you get that support, and that belief and that encouragement, you can smash and stigma you want. You can encourage anybody to anything. And I hope that’s what Heads Together is proving.”

WATCH: Prince Harry Reveals He Entered Therapy After 2 Years of ‘Total Chaos’ in His Late 20s

On what he wants to avoid:
“What would really suck is being in a position where you should be able to make a difference, but people aren’t listening to you.”

On when Prince George, Princess Charlotte and his own future children take the reins:
“I am looking forward to that, and I think at that point, you have to take a backseat.”

On playing godfather to six of his friend’s children:
“I think the key to that is to be able to grow up, but also be able to stay in touch with your childhood side.”

On starting a family of his own:
“Of course, I would love to have kids.”

Tim Graham/Getty

On how the public scrutiny has gotten to him:
“I’ve probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions, when all sorts of grief, and lies and misconceptions are coming at you from every angle. But it comes with the job, and comes with that role.”

On not always having the ability to speak out:
“One of the hardest things I suppose is not being able to have that voice and stand up for yourself. You just have to.”

On the mystery of mental health:
“I have no idea how any of us stay sane. There is day-to-day pressure on all of us, and I genuinely don’t know how we stay sane. I don’t have any secrets.”

On his outlook now:
“I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, and take my private life seriously, as well, and be able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference. Invictus would have never gotten off the ground if I hadn’t dealt with all that stuff beforehand.”