Prince Harry has spoken of his regret of not talking about his mother’s death until recently.
Prince Harry, 31, was 12 when his mother Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
The Royal opened up about his grief to Rio Ferdinand at an event at Kensington Palace for the mental health campaign Heads Together, which the Prince set up with his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in May to combat the stigma surrounding mental health.
“I really regret not talking about it,” the Prince told the former England captain. “For the first 28 years of my life, I never talked about it.”
Prince Harry stressed the importance of talking about your feelings during grief, telling the BBC: “It’s ok to suffer, but as long as you talk about it. It is not a weakness. Weakness it having a problem and not recognising it and not solving that problem."
Last year, Prince Harry spoke of the “gaping hole” left in his life since his mother died while opening a charity centre for orphans in Lesotho, Africa.
Ferdinand, whose wife Rebecca Ellison died from cancer at the age of 34 last year, said speaking to the Prince had been insightful as his three children are dealing with the loss of a parent.
“Speaking to the Prince, he’s gone through different stages in his life that my kids are going towards,” he said. “So to get some of these experiences are very rewarding for me and very educational in many ways and knowing what to expect going forward for my children. It’s very important.”
The event was attended by a number of other high-profile athletes including Dame Kelly Holmes and Victoria Pendleton, who along with Ferdinand have both spoken openly about experiencing mental health issues.
“The key message here today is that everybody can suffer from mental health,” the Prince said “Whether you’re a member of the royal family, a soldier, a sports star […] it doesn’t really matter. Everyone can suffer."
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