Princess Diana’s Death Left Prince Harry Scarred; Admits His Life Was ‘Total Chaos’

When Princess Diana died, the entire world felt like it was in a nightmare. The public was saddened beyond belief. Despite Diana’s messy divorce to Prince Charles, she remained an icon, and her loss still affects the public today. But nobody felt the pain worse than her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. William, though, knew he had a job to do as the future king, and was able to continue his life as a royal as best he could. But Harry started to spiral, and he admitted his life was “total chaos” in the years following Diana’s death.

Prince Harry, Prince William, Prince Charles
Prince Harry, Prince Charles, and Prince William look at tributes to Princess Diana after her death in 1997. | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Princess Diana died in a car accident in 1997

Diana had been through a lot in the 1990s. Her marriage to Prince Charles wasn’t the fairytale she hoped it would be, and several years after they wed, she learned he had been having an affair with this now-wife, Camilla Parker Bowles. The couple went through a messy, high-profile divorce that left the royal family with a tarnished reputation and Diana without a royal title (her title of Her Royal Highness had been stripped when the divorce was finalized, though she was still known as the Princess of Wales). Almost exactly one year after the divorce, Diana was in the backseat of a car driven by Henri Paul when Paul lost control of the vehicle, creating the fatal crash. Some believe Paul was trying to outrun the paparazzi; he was found to have drugs and alcohol in his system.

Harry and William felt the loss more than anyone

The whole world grieved upon learning of Diana’s death. She had become the people’s princess; she was poised and polished but had an air of normalcy to her. And everyone was rooting for her after the affair leaked. When she died, the public was devastated. But nobody felt the pain quite like her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The two were barely teenagers at the time, and their worlds had been rocked by the divorce that was finalized only a year earlier. They were trying to learn the new normal of their parents no longer being together when suddenly they had to learn the normal of Diana not being there at all.

Prince Harry recalled in an interview with Newsweek that one of the hardest moments of his life was walking behind Diana’s casket at only 12 years old while the whole world watched. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances,” Harry said.

Prince Harry recently visited the same children’s hospital as his mother, Diana, did years ago.

Harry admitted his life was ‘total chaos’ following Diana’s death and that William convinced him to seek professional help

After Diana died, the boys’ lives were forever changed. But William had a job to do — he was a future king. Harry, on the other hand, was only a prince who would likely never rule, and his role was less important. He struggled greatly to move on from Diana’s death and grew to hate the life he lived. Harry once recalled on a Podcast that his life was “total chaos” and that he was often “very close” to having a mental breakdown. He lashed out by drinking, smoking, and getting into trouble as a teen and young adult. Finally, William convinced him to get help, since Harry was getting older and things weren’t getting better. “I needed to fix the mistakes I was making,” Harry told Newsweek.

Today, Harry takes pride in his role and loves what he does — for the most part

Harry set out on a journey to find himself and become a better person. And today, he loves his role — mostly. He visits charities, spends time with children, and has grown into a man his mother would be proud of. Though he still struggled with the paparazzi, especially when it comes to his wife, Meghan Markle. He admitted that it is frustrating not being able to protect her more, though the two seem to have found some solace in living a more private life at Frogmore Cottage. Though Harry will always bear the scar of losing his mother, he has made great strides in becoming one of the most well-liked royals.