“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well," Prince Harry said in an interview recently regarding his mother, the Princess of Wales who died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.
As an Englishman, I recall watching the funeral of Princess Diana quite intently, and being incredibly moved by the handwritten note on her casket that read 'Mumm'y. What is shocking to me now as I look back, is that these kids were so unsupported; I don't recall anyone putting their arms around them or hugging them, they were just expected to model the infamous British 'stiff upper lip'. His candid interview on the topic of his mother's death as well as his constant advocacy for mental health, is groundbreaking for a member of the royal family, and pretty outrageous for a Brit.
His way of grieving was certainly typical of a 12-year old, he explains that along with sadness, he buried a lot of other emotions too. Prince Harry said: "My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help? [I figured] it's only going to make you sad, it's not going to bring her back. So from an emotional side, I was like 'right, don't ever let your emotions be part of anything.'"
On finding a therapist, Prince Harry said: "Some of the best people or easiest people to speak to is a shrink or whoever - the Americans call them shrinks - someone you have never met before. "You sit down on the sofa and say 'listen, I don't actually need your advice. Can you just listen'. And you just let it all rip."
As a testament to his character, the interviewers notes how grounded and sound he seemed, as well as being amazed at how open he was in talking about his feelings. Read the full interview here.
Therapy can help with grief, coping and loss.
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