Prince Harry was just twelve years old when his mother, Princess Diana, sadly died in a fatal car crash in 1997. Now 31, he has spoken out about his own silent grief and has urged others not to suffer in silence.
He was at an event in Kensington Palace specifically for the mental health charity Heads Together formed together with his brother, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton.
It was here he admitted that he regrets not opening up about his mother’s death and the impact it had on him.
Only three years ago did he start to open up about his grief and talk about how Diana’s death affected him. He has appealed for people to speak about their own mental health issues and surround themselves with people that care.
The event was also attended by huge sports stars such as, Victoria Pendleton, Dame Kelly Holmes and Rio Ferdinand.
Prince Harry & sports stars discuss their struggles & support at a Heads Together BBQ. This is what they had to say.https://t.co/DX9suCtr8D
— Heads Together (@heads_together) July 25, 2016
Footballer Ferdinand, whose own wife died of cancer in 2015, asked Harry about whether he had any regrets over not speaking about Diana’s death sooner. The Prince answered, honestly: “I really regret not ever talking about it.”
He also said he did not speak about it “for the first 28 years of my life.”
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, he says that it is alright to suffer but “as long as you talk about it. It is not a weakness.”
“Weakness is having a problem and not recognising it and not solving that problem.”
“A lot of people think if you’ve got a job, if you’ve got financial security, if you’ve got a family, you’ve got a house, all that sort of stuff, everyone seems to think that is all you need and you are absolutely fine to deal with stuff.”
He went on further: “It is very easy for someone to look at someone like Rio Ferdinand and say, ‘You get paid all the money in the world, you are a successful footballer, you have fast cars.’ But at the end of the day his wife was snatched from him at an early stage of his life with her.
“So, of course he is going to suffer, it doesn’t matter if he has an amazing job.”
“If you can improve your own well-being and everyone else’s around you as well, and get your mind as strong as your body, imagine what we could achieve.”
The key message the Prince wanted to tell people was that everybody can “suffer from mental health [issues].”
“Whether you’re a member of the royal family, whether you’re a soldier, whether you’re a sports star, whether you’re a team sport, individual sport, whether you’re a white van driver, whether you’re a mother, father, a child, it doesn’t really matter.”
This is something that is incredibly important to recognise and understand in this day and age.
It doesn’t matter how money you have in your pocket or how you choose to live your life compared to others, mental health has no particular agenda. It can affect anybody regardless of their skin colour, their sexuality, gender etc.
Mental health has always been a heavily discussed subject in the Royal Family, especially between Prince William and Prince Harry.
It is important that these issues are brought to light constantly and that people know that there is always support and care to be found – as long as you talk about it, just like Prince Harry says.
So, please talk to somebody close to you or check out some mental health websites/phonelines if you feel like you are suffering or just need someone to listen to you.
Don’t suffer in silence.
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