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Prince Harry almost had nervous breakdown after death of Princess Diana: report

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-04-18 10:10

Britain's Prince William (R), Duke of Cambridge, his wife Catherine (C), Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry leave St. Paul's Cathedral after the National Service of Thanksgiving to mark the Queen's 90th birthday on June 10, 2016 in London, Britain. [Photo/Xinhua]

LONDON - Prince Harry, grandson of Queen Elizabeth, has spoken for the first time about the total chaos in his life following the death in Paris of his mother Princess Diana.

The 32-year-old prince has admitted that he shut down all his emotions for almost 20 years following Diana's death in 1997 when he was just two weeks away from his 12th birthday.

In a candid interview with the London based Daily Telegraph newspaper, Harry disclosed that he sought counseling after enduring two years of "total chaos" while still struggling in his late twenties to come to terms with the death of his mother.

Disclosing that he sought professional health about his mental health, he described how he only began to address his grief after feeling "on the verge of punching someone" and facing anxiety during royal engagements.

Describing the quite serious effect losing his mother had on his life, Harry told how living in the public eye left him feeling he could be "very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions".

He said of his loss: "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. It's only going to make you sad, it's not going to bring her back."

Harry turned to counselors and even took up boxing and said he is now in "a good place".

The prince decided to give an unprecedented insight into his past in the hope it will encourage people to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Prince Harry told how he spent his teenage years and twenties determined not to think about his mum.

"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," he said.

Harry said he had been more than a couple of times to see a "shrink" -- the word used to described mental health specialists, to offload his thoughts, adding that "it was great".

He said at times he had struggled with aggression and turned to boxing as an outlet for his frustration.

"During those years I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you and it's a really good way of letting out aggression," he said.

"And that really saved me because I was on the verge of punching someone, so being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier."

He said he was encouraged to seek help by his brother William who told: "Look, you really need to deal with this. It is not normal to think that nothing has affected you."

Harry said since learning to talk honestly about his feelings he now feels able to put "blood, sweat and tears" into making a difference for others.

"The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realize that actually you're part of quite a big club," he said.

Prince Harry and his older brother, Prince William and William's wife Princess Catherine have set up a charity, Heads Together, to promote mental well-being.

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