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Prince Harry reveals anguish at having to walk behind his mother's coffin

The Prince was 12 when he joined the funeral procession through the streets of London

Gemma Strong

Prince Harry has given an extraordinary interview in which he shared his anguish at having to walk behind his mother’s coffin at her funeral procession. Harry was just 12 years old when he joined his father, Prince Charles, grandfather Prince Philip, 15-year-old brother Prince William and uncle, Earl Spencer, in a funeral procession through the streets of London for Princess Diana. Speaking to Newsweek magazine, the Prince said: "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."

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Prince Harry was just 12 when his mother, Princess Diana, died in Paris

In the candid interview, Harry went on to praise his mother for showing him how to stay grounded, adding that he did his own shopping. "People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live," he remarked. The 32-year-old, who is dating US actress Meghan Markle, also said that if he was "lucky enough" to have children of his own, they would have an ordinary life. "Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping," he said. "But it's a tricky balancing act. We don't want to dilute the magic… The British public and the whole world needs institutions like it."

STORY: William and Harry feel they let mother Princess Diana down: 'We couldn't protect her'

On the subject of the monarchy, Harry said that no one in the royal family wants to be king or queen, but said they will "carry out our duties at the right time". "Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don't think so," he said, adding that the royals were doing it "for the greater good of the people". He said: "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."

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The Prince pictured at his mother's funeral procession in 1997

Harry has been widely praised for opening up about his mental health struggles following the death of his mother, recently revealing that he didn't process his grief until he was in his late 20s. "My search began when I was in my mid-20s," he said. "I needed to fix the mistakes I was making. 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.

STORY: Why Prince Harry doesn't ride horseback at Trooping the Colour

"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."

Don't miss HELLO!'s ultimate souvenir edition celebrating the Queen of Hearts, on sale now. Look back at her life through 148 pages of beautiful images and revealing interviews with those who knew Diana best. Her fashion, her inspirational charity work and love for the sons who now carry her flame forward — it's all there in this unmissable HELLO! special.

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