Monday 24 July 2017

Harry shares his grief to reclaim his mother

Prince Harry's decades of buried pain show how public mourning stole Diana from her sons

Buried grief: Prince Harry as a young boy with Diana. Now he has spoken for the first time about how he 'shut down all his emotions' after the death of his mother nearly 20 years ago. He revealed last week that he avoided dealing with his pain for nearly two decades and only recently sought professional help Photo: REUTERS/Hugh Peralta/File Photo
Buried grief: Prince Harry as a young boy with Diana. Now he has spoken for the first time about how he 'shut down all his emotions' after the death of his mother nearly 20 years ago. He revealed last week that he avoided dealing with his pain for nearly two decades and only recently sought professional help Photo: REUTERS/Hugh Peralta/File Photo

Sarah Caden

Last Tuesday, following an interview in which Prince Harry revealed how he "shut down all his emotions" in the two decades after his mother's death in 1997, there was one photograph that appeared over and over.

It was of Harry, then 12 and still little-boyish, standing between his father Prince Charles and his brother Prince William (then 14) as the hearse containing their mother's coffin passed by. All three of them are gazing at the flower-topped coffin, Charles with a look of horror, and the boys with expressions that were close to furious. Both appeared tense with anger, tightly wound, pent up, you might say.

It is, in part, with the benefit of hindsight that you can read anger in their expressions. That hindsight is informed by Harry's openness last week in explaining and expressing his decades of unlocked grief that by his 20s drove him to the point where he was "on the verge of punching someone". He was filled with anxiety, behaving badly and filled with an aggression he eventually channelled into boxing.

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