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Harry hits an emotional milestone
As Prince Harry turns 37, he becomes older than Diana. We take a look at what will be another big year for the duke, as he lives the life his mother dreamed about
When Prince Harry blows out his candles on Wednesday, his birthday cake will come with an extra slice of poignancy, as he turns 37 and hits the milestone of growing older than his mother.
Diana, Princess of Wales died aged 36-years-old and now her youngest son has lived longer than her tragically short life. It’s something that Harry can’t fail to reflect upon, especially as a father of two and living the life his mother reportedly dreamed of. Kerry wrote about Harry’s journey for The Saturday Telegraph. Here’s an extract:
Anyone who has experienced grief knows the milestones are the hardest – the birthdays, marriages, babies, celebrations the loved-one misses. When it’s a parent who has passed away, you know how much each occasion would have meant to them. If your parent died at a young age, it inevitably means at some point, your life path continues further than they trod, making you feel even more alone. “When we hit that milestone, we are faced with our own mortality. It’s a deeply emotional and visceral response,” says trauma therapist Olivia James. “We can feel it’s our turn next, it sounds irrational, but it almost feels disloyal to survive past this point. We also worry about our loved ones, and what would happen to them if we didn’t survive.”
Harry has increasingly referenced his mother throughout his transition out of the Royal Family. On Archewell’s site, he uses a photo of himself and his mum, writing, “I am my mother’s son” adding, “we have experienced compassion and kindness, from our mothers and strangers alike.” In July, at the unveiling of the statue of Diana to mark her 60th birthday, he and Prince William stated, “We remember her love, strength and character - qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better. Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”
Her legacy is something Harry is living by – he found the freedom his mother so craved. Diana adored the USA, she chose New York to auction her dresses for charity shortly before she died in 1997 and according to Paul Burrell, had plans to move there. Her ex-butler told Good Morning America Diana was looking at “a magnificent mansion” in Malibu. He claims she said, “This is our new life, just won’t it be great, think of the lifestyle, the boys – nobody’s judgmental here in America, you don’t have the class system, you don’t have the establishment.”
She aimed to forge a career out of kindness – calling herself “the queen of people’s hearts” and winning a Humanitarian of the Year award in 1995 - and Harry has modelled his foundation on the same aim. Archewell’s mission statement is “Compassion in Action.” Likewise, Harry is emulating Diana’s struggles with The Firm – something that is being replayed on screen in The Crown’s Season Five with Elizabeth Debicki taking Diana through further turmoil and Kristen Stewart’s acclaimed performance in Spencer.
While authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand maintain Harry is unhappy with his family’s reaction to his racism revelations on Oprah, writing he felt “full ownership” was not taken, in the updated chapters of their biography Finding Freedom, he also faces another seismic year with his relations. What will be in his much-publicised autobiography due out next year? Will he finally reveal which relative allegedly made the racist remark to him about Archie’s skin colour? Will he open more old wounds? And how will this affect his already fractured relationship with Prince Charles, William and the Queen?
“The writing process may be cathartic but the inevitable backlash will have him feeling more beleaguered and entrenched,” says Olivia, The Harley Street Coach. “He wants privacy, to defend himself, his wife and children and also to de-stigmatise mental-health issues. In addition, he wants to honour his late mother, tell her story and protect her legacy,” she says. “But of course, he is laying himself open to attack. There will be questions about his motivations, his loyalty to the Royal Family and even his integrity and this will cause more hurt.”
According to reports, Harry and Meghan want to hold Lilibet’s christening in the UK and introduce her to the Queen. There is also conjecture over whether they will be invited to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next June, but it seems unlikely the monarch would leave them out. Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan’s popularity continues to fall in the UK. According to a recent YouGov poll, positive opinion of Harry decreased from 43 per cent in April to 34 per cent and positive opinion of Meghan declined from 29 per cent in April to 26 per cent.
It’s hoped Harry can use this milestone to begin to look forward, instead of going over past hurt, even if it is cathartic. “When someone has achieved true post-traumatic growth, there is a sense of ‘this happened to me but doesn’t define me’. I hope Harry gets there soon,” says Olivia.
Fergie backs Andrew: “My heart is my oath”
With lawyers claiming Prince Andrew has been served legal papers regarding Virginia Roberts Giuffre – the woman accusing him of sexual abuse – Sarah Ferguson declared last week that she’s standing by her ex.
While on a trip to Poland, the Duchess of York said, “When you make that commitment, you decide to marry a prince. And I fell in love with him.” During an interview with Polsat News, she continued: “I kept my commitment, no matter what. People said: ‘You got divorced’... They don’t know how I feel. Divorce is one thing, but my heart is my oath, my obligation.”
The couple, who divorced in 1996, rub along happily together at Royal Lodge, on the Windsor estate. Last Tuesday they decamped to Balmoral, where the Queen is still in residence, while Andrew remained tight-lipped over the lawsuit. The civil case, filed in New York by Virginia in August, claims the prince sexually abused her when she was 17 at the home of Ghislaine Maxwell in London and at properties owned by the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail in 2019.
Andrew continues to deny involvement and insiders claim the duke is ‘utterly convinced’ he will brush off allegations of rape and sexual assault, and believes he could return to public life as soon as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next June.
Business as usual for Charles
“Should auld aquaintance be forgot,” indeed. There might be a few names Prince Charles would like to erase after the cash-for-honours allegations that emerged this week. His aide Michael Fawcett stepped down as chief executive of The Prince’s Foundation amid claims about honours relating to Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, who this week visited the cottage where Scottish poet Robert Burns was born in 1759 and viewed the original Auld Lang Syne manuscript. Charles is patron of Friends of the National Libraries, which is currently working to save the Honresfield Library manuscripts of writers including the Brontës, Jane Austen, Walter Scott and Robert Burns for the UK. Maybe he could, erm, ask for some donations.
Royals remember Philip: “We were lucky to have him”
We still miss the Duke of Edinburgh, so can’t wait to watch Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers. This historic one-hour BBC documentary sees senior royals sharing their poignant memories of this extraordinary powerhouse of a man, and will include never-seen-before clips from the Queen’s private cine-film collection.
Although the Queen has not been interviewed, more than a dozen members of the Royal Family have taken part, including all of Philip’s children - the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex and his grandchildren: William, Harry (filmed in California), Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall and Lady Louise Windsor.
It is sure to be an emotional watch, if the recently released BBC trailer is anything to go by. The documentary, screening at 9pm, Wednesday September 22 on BBC One, was originally conceived to mark Philip’s 100th birthday in June but sadly the 99-year-old died on April 9, two months short of his centenary.
The Queen makes dream come true
Abandoned at birth and adopted at 22 months, Wanessa Bakowska is now a 12-year-old talented artist who has had artwork displayed in several galleries. And now the Queen is a fan too. Earlier this summer, Wanessa painted a picture for the monarch and posted it to her, with a letter about her life in Lipka, Poland. In her sweet message, Wanessa wrote: “I am a person with a disability and Down Syndrome. Nevertheless, I paint pictures. I would like to give you one of them, Your Majesty. The title of this painting is ‘Earth’. Greetings from Poland.”
Lady-in-Waiting Elizabeth Leeming replied from Balmoral, saying the Queen was ‘most touched’ to receive the painting, and thought it ‘splendid.’ An excited Wanessa posted on Facebook: “Dreams are made to be fulfilled. Today, I got a reply to my letter from Queen Elizabeth.” Well done Wanessa.