HRH Prince Harry has given a fascinating interview in which he has spoken in-depth about his life, his mother, and his hopes for the future of the monarchy.
The Prince, who turns 33 in September, spoke to Newsweek magazine, telling them that the public would be ‘amazed’ at just how normal his life is.
He is without doubt one of the most popular of the royals, and – in the words of Newsweek’s Anglea Levin – he ‘exudes a combination of royal stardust, accessibility, confidence and mischief.’
That combination – and perhaps especially his accessibility – have helped that popularity, and judging from Prince Harry’s words his very normal demeanour is entirely genuine.
‘People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live,’ he told the magazine.
‘I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone.
‘But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too. Even if I was king, I’d do my own shopping.’
This rather lovely picture of royal domesticity is enhanced by the fact that Prince Harry lives in a two-bedroom cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace, and often pops in on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – aka his brother and his sister-in-law – for dinner in the evenings in their apartment within the palace.
Things weren’t always so quiet in Prince Harry’s life, of course: in the interview he also spoke about the depression that he traces back to the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. In his early 20s he was somewhat off the rails, often pictured out drinking and smoking heavily; in recent years, however, he has found a much better balance.
‘My search began when I was in my mid-20s,’ he said. ‘I needed to fix the mistakes I was making…
‘I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good.
‘I am now fired up and energised and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh. I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl, but I now manage it better.
‘I still have a naughty streak too, which I enjoy and is how I relate to those individuals who have got themselves into trouble.’
Prince Harry also spoke about his determination to modernise the Royal Family – something which he and his brother Prince William are both keen to do.
‘The monarchy is a force for good and we want to carry on the positive atmosphere that the queen has achieved for over 60 years, but we won’t be trying to fill her boots,’ he said.
‘We are involved in modernising the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people.’
Charity work will remain a huge part of that – as it always has with the Royal Family – but Prince Harry also seems determined to get more deeply involved in specific areas, including mental health. The ‘Heads Together‘ campaign has the strong support of both William and Harry; ‘They have the money. We have the voice,’ he said of his keenness to help.
Prince Harry also spoke about how much he misses his life in the army, and how it allowed him to go beyond his royal status and experience a completely different life.
‘All I wanted to do was prove that I had a certain set of skills—for instance, flying an Apache helicopter—rather than just being Prince Harry,’ he said.
‘I also felt I was one of the lads and could forget I was Prince Harry when I was with them.’