Prince Harry haunted by memories of Princess Diana's funeral
Duke of Sussex reveals sound of hooves on The Mall is a painful memory
The Duke of Sussex has described how he is still haunted by memories of his mother’s funeral.
In a new documentary series on mental health he made with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry said the lingering grief he has over Diana’s death resurfaces whenever he hears the clacking sound of horses’ hooves on The Mall, the road outside Buckingham Palace.
The series, The Me You Can’t See, streamed on Apple TV+, comes out a day after the release of an independent inquiry in Britain found that a BBC journalist used falsified documents to land a sensational 1995 sit-down interview with Princess Diana.
Harry was 12 when he and his brother William walked behind their mother’s coffin under the gaze of thousands of mourners and the world’s media.
“Sharing the grief of my mother's death with the world,” he said.
“For me, the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horses' hooves going along the pavement. Along The Mall, the red brick road. By this point I was, both of us were, in shock.”
He said he was doing “what was expected of me” even though he was experiencing profound grief.
“It was like I was outside of my body,” he said.
“Showing one tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing. I thought, ‘This is my mum. You never even met her’.”
Asked in a media interview about the new series, the duke said he felt trepidation about returning to the UK for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.
“I was worried about it, I was afraid,” he said.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex previously sat with Oprah at length for an interview broadcast in early March, triggering a major crisis for the royal family.
Prince Harry used the latest interview to repeat his criticisms of his family before suggesting he wanted “reconciliation and healing”.
He said his family turned a blind eye to Meghan’s mental health struggles, including that she had considered committing suicide.
"I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect," Harry said of his wife's depression after the birth of their son Archie.
He said he felt ashamed of going to his family for help because he knew "that I'm not going to get from my family what I need”, and this was one of the biggest reasons why he and Meghan left Britain for California.
“Certainly now I will never be bullied into silence,” the duke said.
“We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job. But Meghan was struggling.”
Harry said he drew parallels between his mother's story and that of Meghan's. Diana died alongside Egyptian film producer Dodi Al Fayed, who she had been dating for several months.
Diana, Princess of Wales - in pictures
"My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone who wasn't white,' he said.
"And now look what's happened. It's incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life. Like, the list is growing. And it all comes back to the same people, the same business model, the same industry."
Harry recalled sitting in the back of his mother's car while she, in tears, was pursued by photographers.
"One of the feelings that comes up for me always is the helplessness. Being a guy and being too young to help a woman, in this case your mother, and that happened every single day," he said.
Harry said he buried his feelings, but drank heavily and suffered panic attacks and anxiety in his 20s, and still freaks out when he sees cameras.
"I was so angry with what happened to her [Diana] and the fact there was no justice at all ... the same people that chased her through that tunnel photographed her dying on the back seat of that car," he said.
"The clicking of cameras, and the flash of cameras makes my blood boil. It makes me angry. It takes me back to what happened to my mum, what I experienced as a kid."
Harry focused criticism particularly on his father, who has previously been accused of indifference towards his children.
"My father used to say to me when I was younger, to both William and I: ‘It was like that for me, so it's going to be like that for you’," he said.
"That doesn't make sense. Just because you suffered that doesn't mean that your kids have to suffer. In fact quite the opposite. If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever negative experiences you had, you can make it right for your kids.”
Harry, 36, said he lived through “a nightmare time in my life” between the ages of 28 and 32. He said during that time he was abusing alcohol and drugs to mask the grief of losing his mother.
He said Meghan encouraged him to seek help for his mental health.
“It definitely made it a lot easier, but the heart still pounds,” he said of therapy.
Updated: May 21, 2021 06:01 PM