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While Prince William turned to friends after Princess Diana’s death, younger brother Harry went off the rails

FOUR days after his mother’s funeral, Prince William returned to Eton College to find 600 letters waiting for him.

Over half the school had written to him, offering their condolences, but with the firm instruction that there was no need to reply.

Prince William
After the death of his mother at 15, Prince William turned to the support of a good friend at Eton College
AP:Associated Press

A fellow pupil said: “It was simply a show of solidarity.”

William, then 15, also had the support of a good friend who had lost his mother several years earlier.

The reaction that greeted Harry at his Berkshire prep school, Ludgrove, was more wary.

Diana's funeral
But younger brother Harry did not cope so well with the death of the Princess

Staff and pupils were told not to talk about what had happened.

No newspapers were allowed and television was more closely monitored than usual.

If Harry, just coming up to 13, saw as much as a glimpse of his mother’s face on screen he would jump up, turn off the TV and leave the room, according to another pupil.

Princess Diana, William, Harry
If then 13-year-old Harry saw his mother’s face on the television he would instantly turn it off and leave the room
Getty Images

That winter Prince Charles took Harry skiing to Klosters in Switzerland. William did not want to go.

There was no press coverage and the visit was not reported.

Being the daredevil he is, Harry longed to ski down the mountain by torchlight.

Princes Charles and Harry in Klosters
The winter after her death, Prince Charles took Harry skiing to Klosters in Switzerland
PA:Press Association

The skiing party met at a mountain restaurant. Everyone wanted to make it special for Harry and gathered round a huge wood fire chatting and drinking.

One of the party noticed the young prince was downing vodka shots and cautioned him. Harry was furious. He angrily jumped on to his skis and headed down the unlit slopes.

Princes Charles and Harry in Klosters
Daredevil Harry decided he wanted to ski down the mountain by moonlight
News Group Newspapers Ltd

His police protection officer, an extremely proficient skier, was only seconds behind him, carrying a powerful torch.

Thanks to his quick reactions they both reached the bottom of the path without incident. It was a frightening moment, and driven by the anger Harry has now been courageous enough to bring to a worldwide audience.

Though he doesn’t mention it, Harry’s crisis point was when he was photographed naked in Las Vegas in August 2012.

Prince Harry
But the Prince did not go truly off the rails until 2012, when he was photographed naked in Las Vegas
Splash News

A year later he admitted he had “let himself and his family down”.

He spoke of his regret at his wild partying and revealed his struggles to balance his public, private and Army life.

Harry has come through and addressed his demons and when he says he is in a good place I believe him.

  • INGRID SEWARD is the editor in Chief of Majesty magazine and the author of William and Harry published by Headline.