Losing his mother at a young age proved to be traumatic for Prince Harry, although he admits he didn’t recognize just how traumatized he was until years after the death of Princess Diana.
As People reports, the prince opens up how his unprocessed grief resulted in him suffering panic attacks in a new interview for Forces TV that will air in the U.K. on Wednesday.
“In my case, suit and tie, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, like heart beating — boom, boom, boom, boom — and literally just like a washing machine,” said Harry in the interview.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here now.’ Oh, hang on, I can’t get out of here, I have got to just hide it,” he added.
In fact, it was serving in Afghanistan that proved to be the “trigger” that forced him to deal with the grief he tried to smother.
“If you lose your mum at the age of 12, you have got to deal with it,” Harry said. “The idea that 20 years later I still hadn’t really… that 15, 17 years later I still hadn’t dealt with it. Afghan was the moment where I was like, ‘Right, deal with it.’”
He continued: “Once I plucked my head out of the sand, post-Afghan… it had a huge… life changing moment for me. It was like, right, you are… Prince Harry, you can do this, as long are you’re not a complete t*t, then you’re gonna be able to get that support, because you’ve got the credibility of 10 years’ service and therefore, you can really make a difference.”
Meeting others who had experienced a similar loss, he added, has also proved to be helpful to him. “There’s similarities there and you can help them and you can have a bit of banter. And the moment you have that banter, you can see them relax,” he said. “You help yourself, so you can help others,” he continued. “And I think that is hugely powerful.”