Prince Harry is speaking out on a topic close to his heart in the hopes that it will help others coping with grief and even mental illness. The 31-year-old royal opened up at a recent barbecue benefiting his mental health charity, Heads Together, which was attended by athletes struggling with mental health issues.
His comments, which were broadcast, revolved around the untimely death of his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997 when Harry was just 12.
“I really regret not ever talking about it,” Harry said, according to CNN. "For the first 28 years of my life, I never talked about it."
Harry's comments were spurred by a question from former professional soccer player, Rio Ferdinand, whose wife, Rebecca, died of breast cancer in May 2015, leaving the 37-year-old English national team star as the sole caregiver to the couple's three children. Ferdinand asked the Prince about the impact his own mother's death had on him as a child.
Harry noted that it was not a sign of weakness to talk about the more difficult topics and to speak about your problems. Prince William’s younger brother hopes to encourage others to seek help if they are struggling with their mental health.
"The key message here today is that everyone can suffer from mental health," he shared. "Whether you're a member of the royal family, whether you're a soldier, whether you're a sport star… whether you're a white van driver, whether you're a mother, father, a child, it doesn't really matter. Everyone can suffer."
Lately Harry has been dedicated to carrying out his mother’s legacy through his work with HIV prevention and awareness. He recently demonstrated an HIV test in a Facebook live video and last week he spoke at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
"When my mother held the hand of a man dying of AIDS in an East London hospital, no one would have imagined that just over a quarter of a century later, treatment would exist that could see HIV-positive people live full, healthy, loving lives," Harry said during his speech.
Harry is determined to erase the stigma and shame surrounding those who request HIV testing.
"It is time for us to step up and acknowledge that stigma and discrimination still act as the greatest barrier to us defeating this disease once and for all," he added.