Diana, Princess of Wales was tragically killed in a car crash in 1997

Prince Harry’s time at war ‘triggered trauma’ from mum Diana’s death

The Duke of Sussex admits that the death of his late mother, Diana, “trauma” during his tour of Afghanistan.

The 38-year-old Prince Harry spent ten years in the army, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan’s front lines.

In an interview for his brand-new Heart of Invictus Netflix documentary, which aired on Wednesday, Harry discussed the impact serving in the military had on his mental health.


Charles, William and Harry viewing floral tributes to Diana
Photo: Getty Images


The Duke said, speaking to the camera, “I can only speak from my personal experience. When I flew Apaches in Afghanistan in 2012, something started to come undone, and my return from Afghanistan served as the catalyst. However, the material that was emerging was from 1997, when I was 12 years old.

The Duke continued, “Losing my mum at such a young age, the trauma that I had, I was never really aware of.” Video showed a young Harry admiring floral tributes to his mother at Kensington Palace.

“It was never brought up, I didn’t really talk about it, and I suppressed it like most kids do. When it all finally fizzled out, however, I was bouncing off the walls. What the heck is going on here, I thought. I wasn’t numb, I was feeling everything.

On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, tragically perished in a car accident in Paris.

When she passed away, her sons Prince William and Prince Harry were only 15 and 12, respectively.

The Duke continued by saying that after his mother passed away, he had no “support structure” in his life.


Harry serving as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan in 2012
Photo: Getty Images


He stated, “The biggest struggle for me was the people,” and continued, “No one around me could really help. I lacked the network, the support system, and the professional insight to understand what was truly wrong with me.

Harry described his realization that he needed help, saying: “Unfortunately, like most of us, the first time you really consider therapy is when you’re lying on the floor in the foetal position, probably wishing that you’d dealt with some of this earlier. And I really want to change that.

The Duke spoke openly about his experiences with trauma and grief with Canadian Invictus Games competitor Darrell Ling in episode four of the five-part series.

“I had that point in my life where I wasn’t aware of it, but for all those years I had no emotion, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t feel because of the trauma of losing my mother when I was 12 years old. At the time, I was unaware of it,” Harry admitted.


Harry and Meghan will travel to Dusseldorf for the Invictus Games 2023
Photo: Getty Images


Heart of Invictus has been released in the run-up to next month’s Invictus Games which begins in Dusseldorf on 9 September, with Harry set to travel to Germany for the start of the tournament, and Meghan joining later.

Harry also shares a touching piece of advice he gave to his four-year-old son Archie as he took the stage at the Invictus Games The Hague in 2022.

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