Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, died in a tragic car accident. Twenty years later, the royal remembers how his life turned to “total chaos” as he dealt with his grief.
In an interview with Newsweek, Harry recalled the emotional difficulty of walking behind his mother’s coffin — alongside his older brother Prince William, his father Prince Charles, his grandfather Prince Philip and his maternal uncle Charles Spencer — during her highly publicized funeral in 1997.
“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,” he said. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
When he was 28, Harry sought professional help, following the advice of Prince William.
“My mother died when I was very young,” the 32-year-old royal told Newsweek. “I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good.”
He continued, “I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh. I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl, but I now manage it better. I still have a naughty streak too, which I enjoy and is how I relate to those individuals who have got themselves into trouble.”
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Despite the constant spotlight on his life, Harry tries to follow in the footsteps of his mother and maintain a normal life — even if it means having photos snapped of him as he shops for groceries.
“My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people. Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality,” he said. “People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live.”
“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. But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too,” he continued. “Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”