In a candid interview with US publication, Newsweek, Prince Harry has spoken of his desire to be normal by doing his food shopping, and that no one in the Royal Family wants the ‘top job’: the throne.
The interviewer, Angela Nevin, noted that Harry said that he wished he was ‘something other than Prince Harry’ a number of times during the course of her observations and chats; it was ‘the best part of’ a year.
Keeping life normal can be difficult for him, and the rest of the Royal Family, in a world of camera phones and social media. But one way the Prince achieves this is through doing his own food shopping. “I do my own shopping. Sometimes… 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 would do my own shopping.”
But he did admit there had to be some mystique to Royals. “It’s a tricky balancing act,” Harry said of the royal life. “We don’t want to dilute the magic. The British public and the whole world need institutions like [the Monarchy].”
Speaking of his official work, the former Army Captain said that he, William and Kate are “involved in modernising the British Monarchy.”
“We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people…. Is there any one of the Royal family who wants to be King or Queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time,” Harry commented.
Naturally, taking the throne means the death of a close relative – usually a parent. Who would want a job under those circumstances? It has also bene pointed out that, historically, those who had the duty of reigning thrust upon them (as opposed to wanting it) have often turned out the better Monarchs: George VI and William IV are two such examples.
“The Monarchy is a force for good,” Harry explained, “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.”
The younger Royals have taken over a number of Her Majesty’s patronages now she is slowing down further in her 92nd year. “The Queen has been fantastic in letting us choose [from her patronages],” he says. “She tells us to take our time and really think things through.”
Brother William has commented on the wise-nature of his grandmother in the past, too, with the redhead also calling her ‘remarkable’.
Of course, the interview could not go by without a mention of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. He seemed critical of the decision which saw him walk in the funeral procession behind his mother’s coffin, aged 12, and in the public eye.
“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,” the Prince remembers. ‘His face hardens’, the interview says: “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
In 1997, Harry joined The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Edinburgh, 15-year-old brother Prince William, and his uncle, Earl Spencer, in the procession through the streets of London prior to Diana’s funeral.
“She had the most wonderful sense of humour and always wanted to make things fun for us, as well as protect us,” the Prince said of happier times.
But with regards to his charity work, Harry thinks that he ‘intuitively’ knows “what my mother would like me to do and want to progress with work she couldn’t complete”.
And the Prince’s revelation regarding his own mental health was also talked about in more depth: “My search began when I was in my mid-20s. I needed to fix the mistakes I was making,” he said, referring to the ‘chaos’ he spoke of in a podcast encouraging others to discuss mental health.
It was Prince William and some close friends who persuaded him to seek help, aged 28.
“My mother died when I was very young. I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but 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,” Harry explains. “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.”
Lastly, it seemed poignant that the fifth-in-line would say he wants to ‘make something of my life’ as he fears being eclipsed in importance by his nephew and niece. “I feel there is just a smallish window when people are interested in me before [William’s children] take over, and I’ve got to make the most of it.”
Read the full piece here.