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British Royal Family

Prince Harry says counselling helped him deal with Princess Diana's death

The 32-year-old royal has given a groundbreaking new interview about seeking professional help, years after Princess Diana's death.

By Bella Brennan
Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother died in 1997.
But according to the royal, he didn't deal with his grief until decades later, which ultimately lead to a myriad of mental health issues.
In a raw new interview with UK's The Telegraph, Harry says it wasn't until he was 28 that he addressed it.
The 32-year-old told Bryony Gordon for her Mad World podcast that he was “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions” and living in the public eye only exasperated his anxiety.
“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,” he explained.
“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”
When questioned if he had seen a "shrink" for help, the Prince revealed: “I’ve done that a couple of times, more than a couple of times, but it’s great.”
The passionate humanitarian also confessed to having anger management issues and turning to boxing as an outlet.
“During those years I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it’s a really good way of letting out aggression,” Harry said.
“And that really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone, so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier.”
Harry admits he didn't deal with Diana's death until his late twenties.
Harry also revealed his older brother Prince William urged him to get professional help, telling him: “Look, you really need to deal with this. It is not normal to think that nothing has affected you.”
“It’s all about timing. And for me personally, my brother, you know, bless him, he was a huge support to me. He kept saying this is not right, this is not normal, you need to talk to [someone] about stuff, it’s OK."
“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?"
As a result, Harry says he buried his emotions for a long time.
“[I thought] 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.'"
After speaking to a counsellor several times, Harry is in a "good place."
Before getting help, the royal admits to conning himself into thinking he was OK.
“So I was a typical 20, 25, 28-year-old running around going ‘life is great’, or ‘life is fine’ and that was exactly it," he said.
“And then [I] started to have a few conversations and actually all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the 
forefront and I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with.”
Harry says it was “only two years … of total chaos” before he was comfortable to express his feelings.
“I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me.”
Harry says seeking help has left him in a "good place."
“Because of the process I have been through over the past two and a half years, I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, been able to take my private life seriously as well, and been able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference and things that I think will make a difference to everybody else.”
This latest interview comes in the wake of Prince Harry's inspirational work for raising awareness around mental health.
Along with Prince William and Duchess Catherine, the royal trio have teamed up with Heads Together to campaign for the cause.
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