Prince Harry learned not to suppress grief after Princess Diana's death

Prince Harry has urged young people not to suppress grief as he opened up about the pain of losing his mother Princess Diana.

The Duke of Sussex took part in an emotional conversation with Nikki Scott – the founder of the charity Scotty's Little Soldiers for children whose parents have passed away while serving in the armed forces – as he candidly discussed how he coped emotionally following Diana's death in a Paris car crash in 1997 when he was just 12 years of age.

Harry said: "It's so easy as a kid to think or convince yourself the reason, I would know, I was 12... the person you've lost wants you or you need to be sad for as long as possible to prove to them that they're missed. Then there's this realisation of 'they must want me to be happy'.

"That's the hardest thing, especially for kids, I think, which is, I don't want to talk about it because it's going to make me sad.

"Especially when every defence mechanism in your mind, nervous system and everything else is saying 'do not go there'."

The 39-year-old royal also explained how bottling up grief "for too long" is not the best way of coping with a tragic loss.

Harry said: "It can be for a period of time.

"But... if you suppress this for too long, you can't suppress it forever as it's not sustainable and will eat away at you inside.

"Once realising that if I do talk about it and I'm celebrating their life then actually things become easier."

The royal also praised Nikki for doing an "amazing job" for supporting bereaved military children after she had to inform her kids Brooke and Kai – aged just seven and five respectively at the time – that their father Lee had been killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2009.

He said: "The way that you've navigated this is extraordinary and no one, there's so many people out there inside the military community and outside you don't know, and quite rightly understandably, don't know how to manage these situations.

"So, wherever you have a chance to be able to share your story it is going to help them."