The 32-year-old spoke candidly to Bryony Gordon about the passing of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997.
"I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well," Prince Harry said. "And it was only three years ago — funny enough — from the support around, and my brother and other people saying that, 'You really need to deal with this. It's not normal to think that nothing's affected you.'"
Harry said instead of processing his grief for The People's Princess, he stifled his emotions.
"My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?" he shared. "It’s only going to make you sad; it’s not going to bring her back. So, from an emotional side, I was like ‘Right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything.' So, I was a typical sort of 20, 25, 28-year-old running around going ‘Life is great’, or ‘Life is fine’ and that was exactly it."
PHOTOS: Prince Harry through the years
Harry said that when he began having the conversations he previously avoided he began to understand, "'There's actually a lot of stuff here I need to deal with...'”
"It was 20 years of not thinking about it and then two years of total chaos," Harry recalled. "I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me."
Harry also revealed he's "probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions" which he attributed to "all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions" that come with his royal title and public platform. He said during his trying years he began boxing, which he shared "really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone, so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier."
During the interview, Harry said he is now "in a good place" and seemed grateful that he was finally able to process his mother's death in a healthy way.
"... Because of the process that I’ve been through over the last two-and-a-half to 3 years," he said, "I’ve now been able to take my work seriously, be able to take my private life seriously as well, and be able to put blood, sweat and tears into the things that really make a difference..."
Princess Diana | Her life and tragic death
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