In a new interview, Prince Harry explains the torture of walking behind Princess Diana's casket on live TV in front of the entire world.
Few who watched Diana's Sept. 6, 1997 funeral will forget the sight of a 12-year-old Harry marching through the streets of London behind his mother's coffin, accompanied by his father, Prince Charles; his brother, Prince William; his grandfather, Prince Philip; and his maternal uncle, Charles Spencer.
"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," Harry, now 32, shared during an interview with Newsweek published Wednesday. "I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today."
Back in April, he told the British newspaper The Telegraph how he had repressed his memories of her death in a Paris car accident. "It was 20 years of not thinking about it and then two years of total chaos," he said. "I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I just didn’t know what was wrong with me."
During his Newsweek interview, Harry recalled how, in his mid-20s, he realized, "I needed to fix the mistakes I was making," and began to course-correct.
"My mother died when I was very young," he continued. "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. I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh.”
He added, “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."
Despite feeling under the microscope at times, the Royal strives to maintain an “ordinary life” inspired by the late People's Princess.
“My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people," he said. "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."
Still, he doesn't want to "dilute the magic" of the Royal family. "The British public and the whole world need institutions like it," he explained.
Harry, who is fifth in line to the British throne also noted that he does not conflate carrying his grandmother's torch with attempting to fill her shoes. "The monarchy is a force for good," he reasoned, "and we want to carry on the positive atmosphere that the queen has achieved for over 60 years, but we won’t be trying to fill her boots."
The way he sees it, he and the other young royals are "involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves, but for the greater good of the people.Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time."