WHILE regular folks may fantasize about being a member of the monarchy, Prince Harry once wished he wasn’t in the British royal family! On the heels of the release of biographer Andrew Morton’s secret Diana tapes comes a shocking new interview with her younger son that sheds light on his tormented youth. “I wanted out,” Prince Harry admits. “I didn’t want to be in the position I was in.” The rakish redhead even contends he’s not alone in being at odds with his blue blood. “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen?” he says. “I don’t think so.”
Harry, 32, adds: “I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl — but I now manage it better.”
A GROUNDED CHILDHOOD
Diana certainly did her best to raise her sons right. “My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people,” Harry remembers. But his world was turned upside down after Diana’s untimely death in 1997, when he was a lad of 12. “I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching,” he recalls. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
It happened to Harry, however — and it led to a dark period of feeling hurt, angry and directionless. “I spent many years kicking my heels, and I didn’t want to grow up,” he says. There were times he describes as “total chaos” when he’d lose himself in parties and booze, and confesses he came “very close” to a breakdown several times.
Harry began to turn a corner in 2006 when he started serving his country. “Being in the army was the best escape I ever had,” he says. “I felt as if I was part of a team… I was really achieving something.” Not only that, he says that during his tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, “I wasn’t a prince, I was just Harry.” After his military service ended, however, the weight of his royal responsibilities returned. “Instead of dealing with it, I buried my head in the sand and let everything around me tear me to pieces,” Harry confesses. “I needed to fix the mistakes I was making and what was going on with me.” So at age 28, Harry sought out professional counseling.
reconciling with HIS DESTINY
With therapy, the prince finally came to terms with who he was. “People would be amazed by the ordinary life I live,” he says, adding whimsically, “I do my own shopping!” Harry — who claims to be quite good with his hands — goes on to say, “My next challenge is to learn to play the guitar.” Meanwhile, he’s making beautiful music with a down-to-earth lover: his sweetheart of about a year, all-American girl actress Meghan Markle, 35.
Most important, Harry found a way to channel his energies toward the benefit of others. “I decided to use my role for good,” says the prince, who dedicates himself to various charities, including the Invictus Games (for injured military personnel), and the mental health campaign Heads Together. Now, when it comes to the monarchy — which Harry refers to as “The Firm” — he says, “We are not doing this for ourselves, but for the greater good of the people.”