The prince with his wife Princess Caroline and their daughter Alexandra, who is now five. Ernst has two sons from his previous marriage
Photo: AFP
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25 APRIL 2005

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Prince Ernst of Hanover has vowed to change his lifestyle after severe pancreatitis, which can be caused by heavy drinking, put him in intensive care in a Monaco hospital earlier this month.

Asked if his life had been in danger during the illness, which prevented him from attending the funeral of his father-in-law Prince Rainier, both Ernst and the doctor who was with him during the interview immediately answered, "Yes!" The prince went on to confess, "I don't want (to die) yet. My daughter is only five years old."

The 51-year-old royal, who is married to Rainier's elder daughter Princess Caroline, made the comments during a chat at the exclusive Austrian clinic where he is currently convalescing.

Admitting that he has a problem saying no when friends call him to go out drinking, Ernst says he now intends to learn how to keep to himself so that no-one will call him any more. He can thus avoid the temptation of alcohol.

"For 35 years, my lifestyle has been more than difficult," the father of three said during the interview. "But now things are going to be different. I must take it step by step."