London, April 17 (IANS) Prince Harry has revealed that he sought counselling after spending almost two decades “not thinking” about the death of his mother, Diana, the Princess of Wales, the media reported.
In an interview to the Telegraph on Sunday, the 32-year-old Prince said that he had “shut down all his emotions”, despite his brother, Prince William, trying to persuade him to seek help.
Prince Harry, who was 12 years old when his mother died in July 1997 car crash in Paris, told the daily that he spent his teenage years and twenties determined not to think about her.
“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.
“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”
Disclosing that he had spoken to a professional about his mental health, he describes how he only began to address his grief when he was 28 after feeling “on the verge of punching someone” and facing anxiety during royal engagements.
Describing the “quite serious effect” that losing his mother had on his personal and professional life, he told the daily how living in the public eye left him feeling he could be “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions”.
The Prince turned to counsellors and even took up boxing. He told the Telegraph that he was now in “a good place”.
Since learning to talk honestly about his feelings, he said, he now feels able to put “blood, sweat and tears” into making a difference for others.
The Prince, together with his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has set up Heads Together, a charity which promotes good mental well-being.
Prince Harry also said his work with the personnel recovery unit while he was in Afghanistan, where he listened to the injured and sick servicemen and women talk about serious mental health issues, had proved a turning point in his understanding.