Prince Harry has launched what amounts to a stinging attack on his father, Prince Charles, for obliging him to walk behind his mother’s coffin as a 12-year-old boy, in front of a physical crowd of tens of thousands and a live TV audience of millions.
Although he does not mention his father by name in a new interview with Newsweek, there is little doubt who Harry is indicting when he says: “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. I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
Later, writer Angela Levin, who tailed Harry for several months for the piece, observes: “Harry talks readily about the queen—‘She is so remarkable’—and his late mother—‘She had the most wonderful sense of humor and always wanted to make things fun for us, as well as protect us.’ He says less about William and Kate, and almost nothing about his father or his stepmother.”
In comments that are likely to upset senior courtiers, Harry goes on to say in the interview, undertaken to promote the Invictus Games for wounded servicemen, that neither he nor anyone else in the royal family desires to be the monarch.
“We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people,” Harry says, “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 also talks about his efforts to maintain an ordinary life, saying: “Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live. 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.” He pauses, then adds, “Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
Earlier this week Harry told how he suffered panic attacks that made his body feel “like a washing machine” and in May he revealed in an explosive podcast that his anxiety in public places became so profound that he wanted to “punch someone” and feared he wouldn’t be able to carry on doing his charity work.