Prince Harry says no one in the Royal Family wants to be king or queen.
In an extraordinary interview he insists however that Britain and other countries still need ‘the magic’ of the monarchy.
The 32-year-old prince also appears to criticise his family’s decision to make him walk behind his mother’s coffin as a 12-year-old, saying: ‘No child should be asked to do that.’
On the monarchy, he asks: ‘Is there any one of the Royal Family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.’
He also seemed to criticise his family’s decision to make him walk behind his mother’s coffin during her funeral
Harry has never kept secret his lack of desire for the ‘top job’ – and now appears to be suggesting that no one else in his family, including his brother William, wants it either.
But he adds: ‘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. We are involved in modernising the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people.
‘The Queen has been fantastic in letting us choose. She tells us to take our time.’
The comments come in an interview with Angela Levin for the US magazine, Newsweek.
In 1997, Harry joined his father Charles, grandfather Philip, 15-year-old brother and uncle, Earl Spencer, in a procession through London for the funeral of his mother Diana.
Harry, who is fifth in line to the throne, says: ‘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.’
Both Harry and William have been on the receiving end of criticism about their dedication to their royal roles, carrying out only a fraction of the engagements even their elderly grandparents manage.
William has been accused of being workshy and finally made the decision to leave his home in Norfolk this summer to move back to London and focus on helping the Queen, 91, and soon-to-retire, Duke of Edinburgh. After several days of almost back-to-back engagements the 96-year-old duke has been admitted to hospital again for treatment for what is believed to be a bladder infection.
Speaking at Kensington Palace, Harry says: ‘I am now fired up and energised and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh.
‘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.’
The Newsweek article says the prince stresses several times that he aches to be something other than ‘Prince Harry’ but that he also is in a rush to make something of his life and make a difference.
Prince Harry (pictured with his mother) insisted that the country still needs the ‘magic’ of the monarchy
‘I feel there is just a smallish window when people are interested in me before (William’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte) take over, and I’ve got to make the most of it,’ he says.
He makes clear that, in partnership with William and his wife Kate, the young royals are also keen to modernise the monarchy – although there is, intriguingly, no mention of their father, Charles.
Harry insists they have huge respect what their ‘remarkable’ grandmother has done over her 65-year reign as Britain’s longest serving sovereign and have no desire to ‘fill her boots’. He says: ‘The Queen tells us to take our time and really think things through. We use our time wisely. We don’t want to turn up, shake hands but not get involved.’
Asked whether he worries that an ‘ordinary’ Royal Family would take away ‘The Firm’s’ mystery, Harry replies: ‘It’s a tricky balancing act. We don’t want to dilute the magic. The British public and the whole world need institutions like it.’
He talks of his rehabilitation from playboy prince to one of the most popular members of the royal family with huge successes such as the Invictus Games for injured servicemen and women under his belt: ‘My search began when I was in my mid-20s. 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.’
The prince, who has recently spoken more about his late mother as the 20th anniversary of death approaches in August than ever before, makes clear that she is still a huge inspiration in his life.
He says he ‘knows intuitively’ which charities his mother would have liked him to work for, joking: ‘Sometimes, I can have too much passion. It has got me into trouble in the past, partly because I cannot stand the idea of people mincing around the subject rather than just getting on with it.’
In recent weeks Harry has also spoken at length about the negative aspects of his mother’ death and how he underwent years of private anguish and anger before finally seeking professional help in his late 20s.
Just this week he described in detail the panic attacks he suffered, saying his body felt like a ‘washing machine’.
He said: ‘In my case, suit and tie, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, like heart beating – boom, boom, boom, boom – and literally just like a washing machine.
‘I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here now. Oh, hang on, I can’t get out of here, I have got to just hide it’.’
Now he insists he can use the passions that often dragged in him into trouble – such as his naked antics in a Las Vegas hotel room – for good. ‘I believe a leopard can change its spots,’ he says.
In the Newsweek article Harry also praises Diana for playing a huge part in showing him an ‘ordinary’ life.
He adds that he does his own shopping, saying: ‘People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live.’
The prince, who is dating American actress Meghan Markle, said if he was lucky enough to have children he was determined they should have a relatively normal life, adding: ‘Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.’