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PRINCE OF HEARTS

In an interview with Newsweek, Britain’s Prince Harry explains how he found a way to give his life meaning after struggling to cope with the death of his beloved mother, Princess Diana

IT IS ONE OF THE MOST POIGNANT IMAGES OF MOURNING IN MODERN TIMES, AND PERHAPS ONE OF THE CRUELEST: A 12-YEAR-OLD PRINCE HARRY, HEAD BOWED AND FISTS CLENCHED, MARCHING IN THE FUNERAL PROCESSION BEHIND HIS MOTHER’S COFFIN.

He, along with his older brother, Prince William; his father, Prince Charles; his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh; and his maternal uncle, Charles Spencer, walked slowly through the heart of London on September 6, 1997. Seven days earlier, the beautiful, charismatic and unpredictable Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris. She was 36.

Her funeral was nearly 20 years ago, but Harry’s recollection of that tragic day can still overwhelm him. “My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he tells Newsweek. His face hardens. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

The prince readily admits that he was scarred by that day, by his mother’s death, and was adrift for decades. He ran with a wealthy, fast set, and smoked and drank too much. He also once wore Nazi clothing at a fancy dress party and was photographed in 2012 partying naked in Las Vegas, with scantily clad women. He was the world’s most eligible bachelor—and a royal pain.

Now, however, he exudes a combination of royal stardust, accessibility, confidence and mischief, a mixture that reminds many people of his mother. His journey from rebellious outsider to one of the world’s most popular royals has required much soul-searching, and there is still some way to go, but he is proud of what he has accomplished and restless to do much more. He tells me several times that he aches to be “something other than Prince Harry.”

The Extraordinary Ordinary

For the best part of the past year, Newsweek was given generous access to follow Prince Harry, now 32, as he went about his royal duties. I went to speak with him one-on-one at Kensington Palace, where he lives in a two-bedroom cottage on the central London grounds while his brother and his wife, Kate, have a 22-room apartment in the palace.

When we meet, Harry, wearing an open-necked, ice-blue shirt, brown chinos and gray suede shoes, leaps out of his armchair to greet me. He talks with warmth and energy but is also quite guarded. He is surprisingly relaxed when talking about his transformation over the past few years.

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THE PRINCE'S TRUST In an interview with Newsweek, Britain’s Prince Harry explains how he found a way to give his life meaning after struggling to cope with the death of his beloved mother, Princess Diana.
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