Prince Harry wants people to know what he didn't until just a few years ago: You don't have to suffer in silence. After his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in 1997, the now-31-year-old royal avoided talking about her death for almost two decades. And he wishes he hadn't.
"I really regret not ever talking about it. For the first 28 years of my life, I never talked about it," Harry, who was 12 when the Princess of Wales was killed, told Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand at an event for the mental health charity Heads Together.
Ferdinand, 37, lost his wife, Rebecca Ellison, to breast cancer last year. "It is very easy for someone to look at someone like Rio Ferdinand and say, 'You get paid all the money in the world, you are a successful footballer, you have fast cars,'" Harry told the BBC. "But at the end of the day, his wife was snatched from him at an early stage of his life with her. So of course he is going to suffer."
Ferdinand was one of several athletes in attendance at the Kensington Palace event on Monday, July 25. Some, like Dame Kelly Holmes and cyclist Victoria Pendleton, have spoken publicly about struggling with depression.
"The key message here today is that everyone can suffer from mental health," Harry told BBC Breakfast. "Whether you're a member of the royal family, whether you're a soldier, whether you're a sport star. It doesn't really matter. Everyone can suffer."
The important thing, he said, is that you don't suffer alone. "It's OK to suffer, as long as you talk about it," he added. "It's not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognizing it and not solving that problem."
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