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Former Royal Editor reveals stag do confrontation that showed Harry’s raging anger after Diana death

I SAW at first hand the turmoil that raged within Prince Harry over his mother’s death — when he squared up to me at a stag party.

One of the prince’s bodyguards later told me he feared Harry might punch me as he vented his pent-up fury in a tirade fuelled by years of suppressed heartbreak.

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Harry clashes with a photographer at a nightclub in 2004[/caption]

The confrontation took place in 2008, just two days after the jury at Diana’s inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Harry and brother William were at a stag do in a pub on the Isle of Wight to celebrate the upcoming marriage of cousin Peter Phillips.

I had been invited in for a drink with the stag party by Prince William as a thank you for leaving them alone all weekend.

Duncan with Harry

The Sun had agreed not to write about the princes’ trip until after they left the island — and in return William had allowed me to join the group as they continued their long lad’s weekend.

But when Harry spotted me in the beer garden, he went into a rage. He was furious that someone from The Sun had turned up, even thought the invite had come from his brother.

Flanked by his protection officers, a clearly inebriated Harry marched straight over to give me a piece of his mind.

AP:Associated Press
Prince Harry is currently dating Meghan Markle[/caption]

Meghan is the one to help him face future

PRINCE Harry credits brother William as the man who helped him face his past but Meghan Markle is the woman helping him face his future. Harry even skipped traditional royal Easter celebrations to fly to Toronto to spend the weekend with his girlfriend ahead of the release of his revealing interview. Just as Harry confirmed he is finally in a “good place”, the actress, 35, has taken a step back from the limelight. Meghan unexpectedly resigned as ambas­sador of high-profile Canadian fashion chain Reitmans. She has also shut down her lifestyle blog and was recently rumoured to be considering leaving TV hit Suits. In October she conceded: “My cup runneth over. I’m the luckiest girl in the world.” But with supportive Meghan at his side, Harry seems to be the one who has lucked out. By Kara Dolman

Lee Thompson & Dan Charity
Harry at the stag do[/caption]

I can’t repeat in a family paper the words he used. But the young prince, who has now confessed that his chaotic mental state sometimes left him on the verge of punching someone, made it clear how he felt about me being there.

I wasn’t really sure how to react, given that The Sun had hailed Harry a hero for serving in Afghanistan and he knew I had risked losing an exclusive by agreeing to hold the stag weekend story.

For many years I had written about Harry and with every headline, his popularity with the public seemed to increase.

Instead of bowing to his demands that I leave the pub, I decided to stand my ground. I asked him why he was so angry and challenged him to let rip.

The Sun’s story on the Royal stag do in 2008


I said to Harry: “If you hate the newspapers that much, then here I am, this is your chance to take me to task.” Harry took me up on the offer. For the following ten minutes or so he raged at me.

The red-faced prince tore strips off me as those nearby watched in astonishment.

Harry’s fury was such that a couple of weeks later one of the police bodyguards who witnessed it told me he had not been sure if it was in his job description to protect The Sun’s Royal Correspondent from being punched by the prince.

Harry’s behaviour on that night made it obvious he was in a very dark place emotionally.

Hardly surprising.

Reuters
Prince Harry at his mother’s funeral[/caption]

For six months, every aspect of his late mother’s final moments had been publicly scrutinised and analysed at her inquest at London’s High Court.

The conspiracy theories about her death were picked over and the details of Princess Diana’s last hours were recounted in minute detail in newspapers the world over. Inevitably, the grief he had somehow submerged after losing his mother at the age of 12 had forced its way to the surface.

There were other powerful pressures, too. At the time Harry had prematurely returned from his first stint in Afghanistan after details of his secret deployment had been made public.

The young Army officer had been forced to say farewell to his men and return home, leaving his comrades to fend for themselves in the front line.

It had already dawned on Harry that his dream career in the military was in tatters.

He was simply too high profile to serve his country and carry out the Army job for which he had trained so hard.

News Group Newspapers Ltd
Harry and Duncan managed to have a good working relationship[/caption]

Added to this his long-term relationship with Zimbabwean Chelsy Davy was in trouble and an attempt to patch things up with her after his return from Afghanistan had not gone well.

And at his cousin’s stag celebration, the pressure had finally reached boiling point.

In fact, once he had vented his frustration at me, Harry calmed down and we had what was a level-headed conversation. In reality Harry was not angry with me. He was angry at the way “his father’s” press team had dealt with the result of the inquest.

Harry had been over-ruled when a statement was released in relation to the inquest verdict.

He had wanted to go into attack mode against a media that, in his eyes, had played such a major part in the tragic events in Paris.

Getty Images
The Prince has recently opened up about the struggle of losing his mother[/caption]

Sensibly, Prince Charles’s advisers had convinced the palace to hold back on a full-frontal attack against the Press.

Harry’s desire to lash out can now be seen in the context of his admission that he bottled up his emotions over Princess Diana’s death for 20 years.

In his own words Harry has admitted “throughout a lot of my 20s I was a problem”.

But in his strikingly frank confession, a far cry from the “stiff upper lip” of traditional royal protocol, he is being a little bit hard on himself.

PA:Press Association
Harry had a desire to lash out[/caption]

Losing your mother at the age of 12 and growing up in the goldfish bowl that is the House of Windsor would push anyone to the brink. If Harry had actually punched me that night in April 2008, then perhaps he would have sought help sooner.

But the fact he has now opened up about his own struggle with mental health will only make the public love him more.

After that night, Harry and I enjoyed a good working relationship and I have always found him a thoroughly decent guy.

What you see is what you get with Harry. And the public is lucky to have someone who sees their privilege in the context of the responsibility that comes with it.

  • DUNCAN’S book Prince Harry: The Inside Story, published by HarperCollins, is on sale on June 15.

Reuters
The Prince relieves stress by boxing[/caption]

Boxing is a new fave to beat stress

PRINCE Harry has joined a growing number of people using boxing to beat stress — and last night an expert explained why.
Coach Gary Logan said: “The physical act of punching in a safe, controlled environment leaves you calm and relaxed.
“Boxing requires coordination and body awareness because you are moving so many different parts. You are forcing your brain to be disciplined, something that can be very useful dealing with aggression or emotions.”
Harry was pictured wearing boxing gloves to launch a mental health campaign last year.
Gary, head coach at the BXR gym in London’s Marylebone, said: “Sweating and raising your heart rate releases endorphins, giving your mind and body a huge boost.
“I would highly recommended boxing to anyone.”

By Jenny Francis

 


 

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