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Prince Harry reveals how fun and humour helped him deal the pain of losing mum Princess Diana

PRINCE Harry has told how he is coping after finally facing his grief over the death of his mother Diana.

Harry, who admitted he “shut down all his emotions” for two decades before seeking help, said fun and humour are helping him to move on.

Dealing with pain . . . Prince Harry wants others to talk about their mental health issues
PA:Press Association
Dealing with pain . . . Prince Harry wants others to talk about their mental health issues[/caption]

Harry, 32, said the key to a happy life is to “grow up but also to stay in touch with your childhood side”.

He expressed his desire to become a father but also to “kick the ass” of his godchildren on PlayStation.

In a remarkable chat with mental health writer Bryony Gordon, the prince said he is godfather to five or six of his mates’ children.

Family torn apart . . . Prince Harry with brother Prince William and mum Princess Diana in 1995
Camera Press
Family torn apart . . . Prince Harry with brother Prince William and mum Princess Diana in 1995[/caption]

When asked: “Are you a really awesome godfather?”, Harry replied: “I’d like to think so.”

He referred to popular shoot ’em up video games when talking about keeping his childhood side.

He said: “If that means going to someone’s house and playing PlayStation, kicking the ass of their son on Counter-Strike, or Halo, or whatever it is, then I will try and do that.

“I’m actually out of practice on that, but . . . of course, I would love to have kids.”

Harry also stressed: “I’m a massive believer in humour, simply because I spent ten years in the Army.

“But if you sit down and talk to these guys about the issues they’ve had, it’s all dark humour.”

Princes William, Harry and Charles at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997
Getty Images
Princes William, Harry and Charles at Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997[/caption]

He joked he would be “crucified” if he used such humour in public.

Harry was only 12 when Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

He tried to suppress his heartache but finally faced up to it at 28 — after brother Prince William begged him to seek help, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Harry admitted that he sought counselling, a revelation being viewed as a major prompt for those suffering from mental health to speak out.

And he touched on “Queen of Hearts” Diana’s influence on his work.

He said: “One of the best things ever, I suppose this is what my mother believed in, if you’re in a position of privilege or responsibility and can put your name to something you genuinely believe in . . .  then you can smash any stigma you want and encourage anyone to do anything.”

Princess Diana with Prince Harry outside King Juan Carlos of Spain's holiday villa in Majorca, August 1987
News Group Newspapers Ltd
Princess Diana with Prince Harry outside King Juan Carlos of Spain’s holiday villa in Majorca, August 1987[/caption]

A ten-year-old Prince Harry with his mum in May 1995
PA:Press Association
A ten-year-old Prince Harry with his mum in May 1995[/caption]

Reflecting on his own turmoil he said: “I know there’s huge merit in talking about your issues.

“Keeping it quiet will only ever make it worse, not just for you but everyone else around you, because you become a problem.

“And I, through a lot of my 20s, was a problem, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.

“Once you start talking about it to your mates, two months later those mates were coming back to me and starting to slowly unravel their own issues, because they knew that I could relate to it.”

He added: “What we’re trying to do is normalise the conversation, to the point where anyone can sit down and have a coffee and just say, ‘You know what, I’ve had a really s*** day, can I just tell you about it?’

“Then you walk away and it’s done, rather than a week later, or 20 years later, what could have been something small can grow into this beast of a snowball that you can’t dislodge.”

Andrew Crowley
Chat . . . Prince Harry spoke about mental health with mental health writer Bryony Gordon[/caption]

The royal said he took up boxing to combat his pain and frustration
PA:Press Association
The royal said he took up boxing to combat his pain and frustration[/caption]

Army strife . . . The royal serving in Afghanistan in 2008
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Army strife . . . The royal serving in Afghanistan in 2008[/caption]

Helping kids . . . Prince Harry meeting four-year-old ailing lad in 2014
News Group Newspapers Ltd
Helping kids . . . Prince Harry meeting four-year-old ailing lad in 2014[/caption]

On his counselling, Harry said: “It’s weird because, yes, I’m a prince. I have a house over my head, I have the security I need, I have a car, I have a job that I love.

“But now, because of the process I’ve been through, I’ve been able take my work and private life seriously and be able to put blood, sweat and tears into things that really make a difference.”

Harry admitted “shutting down his emotions” for so long after Diana died has had “a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well”.

Speaking of the “day-to-day pressure” on his family he said: “I have no idea how any of us stay sane.

“I’ve been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and lies and misconceptions are coming at you from every angle.

“But it comes with the job, and one of the hardest things is not being able to have a voice and stand up for yourself.

"You just have to let it wash over you.”

Harry spoke out as he, William and sister-in-law Kate backed the Heads Together campaign to end the stigma around mental health.

He said: “It’s great fun and we all have different passions for the cause and different reasons for doing it.”

Harry admitted his charity work piles on psychological pressure.

Prince Harry helped launched mental health campaign Heads Together with brother Prince William and Kate Middleton
AP:Associated Press
Prince Harry helped launched mental health campaign Heads Together with brother Prince William and Kate Middleton[/caption]

Giving an example of one day’s work, he said: “In the morning I spoke to one girl who had tried to commit suicide and told me about another guy suffering so bad from PTSD that he was shaking, blinking and unable to make conversation with me, and another guy who had tinnitus from a practice grenade which means he has to go to bed with a speaker on otherwise it’s ringing in his ears all night.

Then in the afternoon I was at a Wellchild event meeting terminally sick children and talking to their parents. I was just like, ‘Aargh!’

“You park your own issues be- cause of what you’re confronted with.

"All you want to do is help and listen, but then you walk away thinking, ‘How the hell I am supposed to process this? I’ve literally taken on everyone else’s (issues)’.”

At the start of the interview, for her new podcast Mad World, Bryony said Harry was her first guest.

She told him: “We’ve set the bar quite high, unless you can ask your granny if she fancies coming on next week?”

Harry joked: “I think she only signs herself up for video auditions. She’s not so into podcasts yet.”

Turmoils of writer

HARRY opened up to a journalist who has been candid about her own mental health struggles.

Bryony Gordon has written two books chronicling how she took lots of cocaine, had multiple one night stands and battled obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and bulimia.

Her mental health issues started at 12 when she convinced herself she was dying of Aids even though she had never had sex or taken drugs.

Tweets pour in to support bravery

By Tess De La Mare

AN outpouring of support followed Prince Harry’s confession about his battle to come to terms with his mum’s death.

Thousands tweeted praise for the prince and shared their stories of grief and loss. Comedian David Walliams, who split from wife Lara in 2015, said: “Good for #PrinceHarry for talking openly about his mental health.”

MP Chuka Umunna, who lost his dad when he was a teen, said: “Big respect to Prince Harry for opening up about his mental health and grief. Losing a parent so young is v.tough.”

Monica Lewinsky, in the spotlight for her affair with former US president Bill Clinton while an intern, said: “Voices like this are so needed to help destigmatise getting mental health care.”

Journalist Robert Peston, whose wife Sian died from cancer in 2012, added: “Great that Prince Harry says counselled for grief & imminent breakdown.

Hope lessens stigma of seeking help. “Also hope Prince Harry interview increases pressure for more NHS mental health resources.”

Mental health charity Mind said: “It shows how far we have come in changing attitudes that someone so high profile can open up about something so difficult.”

Giver, not a taker

By Arthur Edwards, Sun Royal Photographer

PRINCE Harry’s revelations about his grief surprised me – I never saw any indication.

But I thought his drinking, stripping and dressing in Nazi uniform was just part of him growing up.

I was critical in 2007 when he lunged at a photographer outside Bouji’s club in London.

That he’s come through those dark days is impressive.

He has years ahead as a tremendous asset to the country, giving more than he takes.

He won’t be an Air Miles Harry.

'A great example for all young men'

By Deidre Sanders, Agony Aunt

HE’S gone from tearaway prince to therapy promoter in quick order and Harry is doing men of all ages, but especially young men, a huge favour by making it OK to say you need emotional help.

Typically boys who have suffered a major loss in life seem unaffected until they reach adolescence — then they rebel, act up and get into trouble at school.

Harry now admits he was on a self-destructive path until some wise words from his older brother woke him up.

He went for counselling and hopefully his example will make it easier for troubled boys and young men to seek help too.

They can find understanding and support through CALM — Campaign Against Living Miserably — who focus on helping males aged 15-35 (www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585858).

Children up to 16 can talk to, chat online or email Childline (www.childline.org.uk, 0800 1111).

If you are a worried parent, older friend or relative of a troubled boy, talk to the Young Minds Parents Helpline (www.youngminds.org.uk, 0808 802 5544).

But it’s down to all of us — parents, schools, family, friends — to set the right example too and make it easier for young men to talk about angry feelings, loss and hurt, to show them open affection and understanding ourselves.