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Prince Harry speaks about his personal experience with grief and bereavement

20 April 2017

Prince Harry has opened up about his own experience with grief and bereavement in a ‘Mad World’ podcast, an initiative of The Telegraph newspaper.

Speaking about the death of his mother, the late Princess Diana, and his journey to accepting and processing the related emotions, he said: “I’ve spent most of my life saying, “I’m fine.” “Just saying “fine” is so much easier than having to go into the details.”

Prince Harry lost his Mum at the age of 12 on, as he puts it, “a public platform.” Closely watched by the media and growing up in a famously stoic culture, Harry says: “I buried my head in the sand for many, many years.”

“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 also my work as well.”

It is only recently, with the support from close friends and family, that he has felt able to deal with his complicated grief around his mother’s death.

The prince argues strongly for the value of talking through mental health issues, whether this is through professional counselling or informally. He says: “I can’t encourage people enough just to have that conversation.”

Harry, along with his brother and sister in law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, dedicates a large amount of time to charity work. Although he mentions that he “absolutely loves” his job, he has experienced compassion fatigue, which added to his own problems.

Recently, however, he started to have a few conversations and then, he admits: "all this grief that I had never processed started to come to the forefront and there was a lot of stuff that I needed to deal with."

The ‘Heads Together’ campaign, coordinated by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry works in partnership with charities that are tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges.

Prince Harry, along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is working with Heads Together to normalise the conversation around all mental health issues, including grief and bereavement.

“Everybody struggles,” says Harry. “We are not robots, we’re humans.”

Listen to Prince Harry talk on the ‘Mad World’ podcast.

Find out more about the Heads Together campaign online.
See more articles in People and places

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