Prince Harry reveals in a new interview that there was a time when he didn’t want to be a member of the royal family.
In a candid talk with Newsweek magazine, the fifth in line to the British throne says there was a time in his troubled 20s when he just wished he could live an “ordinary life.”
“I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role,” the 32-year-old said, telling journalist Angela Levin repeatedly that there are times when he wishes he could be “something other than Prince Harry.”
It was an honest statement from Prince William’s younger brother, who has been opening up in interviews this year about the grief and anxiety he felt after the sudden death of his mother, Princess Diana, and his lost years in his 20s when, as he said in an April interview, he was “very close” to a breakdown before he sought counseling four years ago.
Harry was just 12 when Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris and he spoke about the distressing position he was placed in when he and William had to walk through the streets of London behind her coffin as millions watched around the world. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances,” he said. “It certainly wouldn’t happen today.”
With the help of therapy, Harry was able to come to terms with her loss as well as accept his position as a very visible member of the most famous royal family in the world.
“I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good,” he said. “I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh. I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl, but I now manage it better. I still have a naughty streak too, which I enjoy and is how I relate to those individuals who have got themselves into trouble.”
The prince, who lives in a two-bedroom cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London — where his brother and sister-in-law, Duchess Kate, and their two children, George and Charlotte, have a 22-room apartment — said that doing everyday things that most people take for granted is important.
“My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people. Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality,” he said. “People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live. I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone. But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too.”
While Harry refused to speak about his relationship with Suits actress Meghan Markle, Levin revealed that the prince recently got the Natural History Museum to stay open late one night so that he and his girlfriend of a year could check out the dinosaurs in private.
The journalist, who wrote a piece for The Mail on Sunday about the year she spent interviewing Harry and accompanying him to charity appearances, said the prince shut her down when she asked if Markle was the one who suggested he see a therapist and open up about his mental health struggles. “Absolutely she did not,” he said. It was his brother who advised him to seek help.
The royal spoke passionately about his charity work and added that he, William and Kate “don’t want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good.”
Still, the weight of his responsibilities sometimes sits heavily on him.
“Is there any one of the Royal Family who wants to be King or Queen? I don’t think so,” he said, “but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”
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