Prince Harry Regrets Not Opening Up About Diana's Death For So Long

"For people to turn around and go 'Oh, you're in that position, therefore you're fine' is a completely ridiculous suggestion."

26/07/2016 12:14 AM AEST | Updated 26/07/2016 12:14 AM AEST

These days, both Prince William and Prince Harry are quite vocal about the influence their late mother, Princess Diana, has on their lives and their work

Julian Parker via Getty Images
Princess Diana, Prince Harry and Prince William in 1993.

But that willingness to talk about her in the years following her death in 1997 did not always come so easily ― at least, not for Harry, and not when it came to talking about how her death affected him. 

The younger royal hosted a barbecue at Kensington Palace Sunday for athletes who have struggled with mental health issues, and the BBC reports he also opened up about struggles of his own.

“You know, I really regret not ever talking about it,” Harry told a group of attendees, suggesting that he didn’t start addressing his own mental health until three years ago. 

Among those present was Rio Ferdinand, a former professional soccer player and father of three whose wife died in 2015. Ferdinand explained to the BBC how helpful it was to hear the prince chat about his own experience losing a parent.

Sports stars join Prince Harry at a Heads Together BBQ at Kensington Palace, London, to talk about challenges they have faced in their life and how the support of others has helped. Rio Ferdinand, Dame Kelly Holmes, Victoria Pendleton, Jonathan Trott and Iwan Thomas talked with Prince Harry about tough times in their lives and struggles with their mental health or wellbeing and the importance of being supported by people or networks. Many were accompanied to the event by those who had helped them overcome challenges and provided support. Before a game of French Cricket, the sports stars discussed with Prince Harry how talking to friends, family and colleagues can be a vital first response during difficult times. Most of us will go through a difficult time at some point in our lives, including the sporting stars we may think are invincible. Hearing sporting heroes and role models talking openly about their tough times and what support has helped them can help us all feel more confident about reaching out for support when we need it.

A photo posted by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal) on

“He’s gone through many stages in his life that my kids are going to be going towards. So to get some of his experiences is very, very rewarding for me and very educational in many ways for me in knowing what to expect from my children going forward,” said Ferdinand.

The event was held in an effort to educate and inform people that no one, regardless of status, occupation, wealth or otherwise, is immune to struggling with depression or other mental health challenges. 

“Everyone can suffer, everyone’s got a different story, everyone’s got a different reason,” Harry said, adding, “for people to turn around and go ‘Oh, you’re in that position, therefore you’re fine,’ is a completely ridiculous suggestion.”

As he has done alongside his brother and sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry continues his hard work toward de-stigmatizing mental health struggles. 

Check out video from the event above and head to the head to the BBC to read more.  

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