Prince Harry was only an adolescent when his mother, Princess Diana passed away in 1997. The 31-year-old British royal spoke candidly of the impact the death of his mother has had on his life in an exclusive interview with People.
“When she died, there was a gaping hole, not just for us but also for a huge amount of people across the world,” he said. “If I can try and fill a very small part of that, then job done. I will have to, in a good way, spend the rest of my life trying to fill that void as much as possible. And so will William.”
The younger brother of Prince William, Harry has lived a relatively normal life, joining the military and serving two tours in Afghanistan—which made him feel powerless at times.
“You turn up and you think you’re invincible in a super-duper aircraft, but you’re helpless,” he said. “Then I come back and I say, ‘How can I use my name and that spotlight to the best effect?’ ” Creating the Invictus Games, he noted, was “almost like a cure for that pain I had back then.”
The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for the wounded and current members of the military. Its hope is to “inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured, and sick Servicemen and women.” This year’s event will take place in Orlando, Fla. from May 8-12, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Prince Harry’s charitable efforts mirror his mother’s, but he said she isn’t the only reason behind his need to give back.
“I enjoy what I do. But I don’t do things because I feel as though my mother would want me to do them,” he said. “I know I’ve got a lot of my mother in me. I am doing a lot of things that she would probably do.”
As the anniversary of his Princess Diana death nears in August, Prince Harry has one tribute for his mother.
“All I want to do is make my mother incredibly proud—That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do,” he said.