If the bewildered prince had shown his true emotions, and betrayed the so-called ‘stiff upper lip’ that is the Royal family’s default response, certainly in public, to personal tragedy, it might have been regarded by some as a sign of weakness and breach of protocol rather than a genuine cry for help that needed to be heard.
Yet the fact that Prince Harry has now been so candid about the personal torment that he subsequently endured - “20 years of not thinking about it and two years of total chaos” – before seeking professional counselling speaks volumes about how attitudes have become more enlightened, not least because of the inspirational campaigning work that the young royal undertakes with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, his brother and sister-in-law, as part of the pioneering Heads Together charity which they spearhead.
By explaining how he shut down his emotions and refused to think about his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, for almost two decades, and the negative impact that this had on his temperament as he was naively portrayed as a ‘party prince’ by some, will resonate with people from all walks of life who struggle to come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
Highlighting the expert help that does exist is probably Prince Harry’s greatest gift to the public who now have a better understanding of the anguish that has haunted him for so long and, in his own words, left him “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions” as he struggled to fulfil his duties with the professionalism, and humility, expected by his family and his country.
As such, Prince Harry deserves the utmost admiration for the maturity that he has shown in confronting his personal demons and vulnerability so publicly and, at the same time, offering hope to the grief-stricken who previously thought they were alone as they suffered in silence. They’re not.