Prince Harry has revealed he was ‘lacking guidance’ after the death of his mother in 1997 and that it was his Colour Sergeant at Sandhurst who helped him rebuild confidence in the wake of the tragedy. Prince Harry was only 12 years old when his mother died in a car crash in Paris and earlier this year he voiced his regrets at not having opened up sooner about how her loss affected him.
Speaking at a youth mentor training event in Scotland which was in support of The Diana Award, the Prince, who celebrated his 32nd birthday last week, shared that his mentor gave him the ‘confidence to look forward’.
In opening up to a circle of mentors and trainees he shared that he had been at a difficult stage when he joined Sandhurst Military Academy in 2005 and that it was his Colour Sergeant who helped him ‘push forward’.
Though the Prince politely refused to name the sergeant because ‘he would not want me to’, he did share that, ‘I was at a stage in my life when I was probably lacking a bit in guidance…I lost my mum when I was very young and suddenly I was surrounded by a huge number of men in the army. He was someone who teased me at the right moments and gave me the confidence to look forward, to actually have that confidence in yourself to know who you are and to push forward and try to help others.’
The event at Mackie Academy in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire saw Prince Harry meet 60 young people who are in the midst of training to become mentors.
While there he also met with a recipient of The Diana Award, 17-year-old Jamie McIntosh from Edinburgh. Following the death of his mother from breast cancer the youth wrote a book to help teenagers deal with grief after struggling to find material aimed at helping teens through loss and emotional difficulty.
Prince Harry told Jamie that, ‘That’s what it’s all about…It’s trying to stop other kids in your position having to go through what you had to go through, and now your book is going to help everyone around you. If anybody around me ever has any grief, especially close family, you feel as though you can help because you have got the experience and that is what mentoring is all about.’
As part of his visit in Scotland Prince Harry also visited a youth sports initiative at Robert Gordon University to Learn about the Streetsport scheme which tackles anti-social behaviour by offering free weekly sports and art session in Aberdeen’s communities. The young royal had a great time playing mini tennis, street hockey and ‘Panna KO’, a form of one-on-one football.
Of the visit Robert Gordon University principal Ferdinand Von Prondzynski said, ‘It’s a really good day for the university but also for Aberdeen, because this is about creating a sense of community, particularly in less advantaged communities.’