Prince Harry Recalls Having to Walk Behind Princess Diana's Coffin: No 'Child Should Be Asked to Do That'
By Rachel McRady
When he was just 12 years old, Prince Harry was forced to walk behind the casket of his late mother, Princess Diana, in her widely publicized funeral. It was a haunting image and one that stuck with the royal for many years to come.
“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he told Newsweek in a rare tell-all profile. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
The 1997 death of Princess Diana led to a long road to recovery for Prince Harry, now 32, who recently admitted that he received therapy and treatment for the trauma of such a big loss.
“My search began when I was in my mid-20s,” he said. “I needed to fix the mistakes I was making.”
At the time, Harry was making headlines for his party boy ways, rejecting his royal status.
“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,” he noted of his many charitable outreach programs.
Harry’s work, whether it be with army veterans, children, or those suffering with HIV, is inspired mostly by his mother.
“I intuitively know what my mother would like me to do and want to progress with work she couldn’t complete,” he said of Diana, an outspoken HIV/AIDS activist. “My mother died when I was very young. 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.”
The Diana Harry remembers was more than just a royal figurehead.
“She had the most wonderful sense of humor and always wanted to make things fun for us, as well as protect us,” he said.
In addition to her work, Diana also tried to instill in her sons the idea of a normal life, even from behind the Palace walls.
“My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother [Prince William] to see homeless people,” Harry revealed. “Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. 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. Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
And if the royal is to have a family of his own, will it be with his current girlfriend, actress Meghan Markle? A source close to the prince told Newsweek that he isn’t in a rush to get engaged.
“They obviously get on very well and have a lot in common, but they have not known each other that long,” the source told the magazine. “They need to find out if they can have an ordinary relationship within a very unusual setting. I don’t think anything will happen until the end of the year.”