As the 20th anniversary of his mother's untimely death approaches, Prince Harry recently opened up about the years of anguish and "total chaos" he experienced before getting to the "good place" he's in now.
In a new interview with The Telegraph for its Mad World podcast, the red-headed royal, now 32, confessed that he dealt with Princess Diana's death by "sticking his head in the sand" and refusing to think about her. "Because why would that help? It's only going to make you sad, it's not going to bring her back," he says of his thought process at the time. "So from an emotional side, I was like, 'Right, don't ever let your emotions be part of anything.'"
"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," he adds.
To cope, Harry says he took up boxing. "Everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it's a really good way of letting out aggression," he says. "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."
For a while, he says, he acted like everything was fine. And while on the surface he appeared like any other 20-something, on the inside, he was suffering, though he couldn't figure out why.
"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," he recalls in the interview. "The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realize that actually you're part of quite a big club."
In the end, Harry credits his brother, Prince William, with getting him the help he so desperately needed. "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," he says.
"The timing wasn't right. You need to feel it in yourself, you need to find the right person to talk to as well," he adds.
Now, happy and healthy for the first time in nearly 20 years, Harry says he's focused on mental health issues.
"What we are trying to do is normalize the conversation to the point where anyone can sit down and have a coffee and just go 'you know what, I've had a really s— day, can I just tell about it? Because then you walk away and it's done."
Unburdened and emotionally healthy, the young prince says he's finally able to concentrate on living. "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," he notes.