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Impact of Princess Diana’s death on Princes William and Harry, and how they are coping



Impact of Princess Diana’s death on Princes William and Harry, and how they are coping


Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, remained notably quiet about her unfortunate death in the years following her death in a car accident on August 31, 1997, refusing to make any kind of public comment about their sorrow. However, in recent years, the boys have begun to speak to the press about their mum.

Harry, who was 12 at the time of the crash, announced last month that he sought counselling to help him cope. William, who was 15 at the time of his mother’s passing, revealed the details of his own personal distress in a recent profile in British GQ, as well as the grief he still feels.

Diana died in a car accident at the age of 36, leaving behind a dynamic legacy that means different things to different members of a family that had no choice but to move on and put up a firm front in her wake.

The young princes’ last contact with their mother came in the form of a phone call, which had been a nightly practice after Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles.

“I would like to have had her advice,” William told the magazine. “I would love her to have met Catherine and to have seen the children grow up. It makes me sad that she won’t, that they will never know her.”

On Aug. 31, 1997, at 3 a.m., British Summer Time, Diana was pronounced dead. Following Fellowes’ call to Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital for an update, Prince Charles, who was also at Balmoral with sons Prince William and Prince Harry, was informed at 4:30 a.m. by the queen’s private secretary (and Diana’s brother-in-law) Robert Fellowes that the princess had succumbed to her injury.


When William and Harry learned about Diana’s demise, they were saddened. “There’s nothing like it in the world,” William said. “There really isn’t. It’s like an earthquake has just run through the house and through your life and everything. Your mind is completely split. And it took me a while for it to actually sink in.”

Despite the fact that Kate Middleton never met her mother-in-law, William honored Diana at the couple’s 2011 wedding. Allison Pearson, a Telegraph columnist at the time, described the wedding as “the fruit of another great love: that of a mother for her son.” Prince William made sure to include Diana’s memory in the celebrations, giving Kate his mother’s diamond-and-sapphire engagement ring as a way to honor her on his wedding day.

Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, spoke to reporters from his home constituency in County Durham that morning, saying he, like the rest of the world, was “utterly devastated,” He clasped and unclasped his hands in front of him, saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Princess Diana’s family, in particular her two sons, the two boys.”

A few days later, on September 6, an estimated 2.5 billion viewers watched Diana’s funeral from around the world, as a young William and Harry marched stoically behind her cortège.

William has discussed the impact Diana’s death had on him at the time in the new piece. He told GQ that when working on his mental health initiative, Heads Together (which he co-founded with Kate and Harry), he was reminded of his own experiences as a grieving adolescent and how difficult it was to speak publicly about his loss.

Meanwhile, behind the walls at Balmoral, Charles and the queen had agreed to keep the news from William and Harry until the morning.

Harry revealed in an interview with Newsweek how painful it was for him to cope with the news of his mother’s passing. “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,” said Harry . “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

The royal family attempted to involve the young princes in dialogue about their mother’s death shortly after Diana’s death. In the recently published documentary, William says, “The family came together, and Harry and I tried to talk as best we could about it.” “But being so small at that age, it was very difficult to communicate or understand your feelings. It’s…it’s very complicated.”


In their latest web series about mental health, Prince Harry spoke with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Tears over his mother’s death were set aside in favour of shock for young Prince Harry. He couldn’t comprehend how his mum, who took him to baseball games and snuck him out for a burger or a movie every now and then, could mean so much to so many people she’d never meet when he was just 12 years old.


When it came to grieving the loss of his ex-wife, Charles, who was nearly 13 years Diana’s senior and had only been alone with her a couple of times when they married on July 29, 1981, was trapped in a precarious situation.


The duke also told Winfrey that his family did not discuss his mother’s death and that they expected him to handle the ensuing media coverage and emotional anguish.


In addition to his own dissatisfaction, Harry expressed his displeasure with the way his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, was handled by the media.

“My biggest regret is not making more of a stance earlier on in my relationship with my wife, calling out the racism when I did,” he said.


Diana was buried at the Althorp Estate, her family’s residence, on a small island in the center of the Oval Lake. Harry said in the documentary, “The first time I cried was at the funeral on the island…and only since then, maybe once.” “So, you know, there’s a lot of grief that still needs to be let out.”


“One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is tell your children that your other parent has died. How you deal with that, I don’t know,” Prince Harry reflected in the 2017 BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days, another of the numerous specials and retrospectives that marked the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death that year, but one of few made with the cooperation of her immediate family. “But he was there for us. He was the one out of two left. And he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But he was going through the same grieving process as well.”


Prince Harry said he had “no doubt” that his mother will be “incredibly proud” of him for leading the life she would have liked, and that one of his son Archie’s first words was “grandma”


Despite their disappointment, the boys had to uphold an optimistic public presence and did their utmost to remain strong in the face of such intense scrutiny. “Slowly, you try and rebuild your life, and you try and understand what’s happened, and I kept saying to myself that, you know, my mother would not want me to be upset,” William explained in the documentary. “She’d not want me to be down. She’d not want me to be like this. I kept myself busy as well—which is good and bad sometimes—but allows you to kind of get through that initial shock phase.”

As was customary, Harry and William accompanied the queen to church on Sunday morning, and the royal family directed that no mention of Diana be made during the service.

The prince, 36, has advocated for the normalization of mental health discussions and has recently begun speaking openly about his own personal experiences.

Prince Harry, Prince William, and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, have formed their own joint charity, Heads Together, as a result of their close personal association with mental health issues. The organization works on raising mental health awareness and assisting homeless, military veterans, and young people in pursuing care. The establishment of this organisation is a charitable step forward for both princes in showing the empathy that their mother instilled in them.

On a podcast, Prince Harry said that when it came to raising his own children, he was determined to “break the cycle of pain” of his childhood, and that he had gone to therapy.

Prince William has also said that he tries his hardest to keep Diana’s memory alive for his two daughters, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, both of whom have Diana as their middle name. “We’ve got more photos around the house now of her and we talk about her a bit and stuff,” William said near the end of the documentary. “… I do regularly, putting George or Charlotte to bed, talk about her and just try and remind them that there are two grandmothers—there were two grandmothers—in their lives. And so, it’s important that they knew who she was and that she existed.”

“I think she would be proud of everything Harry and I have come through, having lost her,” William said. “And that gives me positivity and strength to know that I can face anything the world can throw at me.”



William and Harry regret last phone call with Princess Diana

The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry both expressed regret for their last chat with their mum, which they cut short because they were too preoccupied with their cousins.

“All I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was,” Prince Harry, who was 12 when Princess Diana died, said.

Her sons talk candidly of their pain, mourning, and dealing with the trauma of her premature demise, at the age of 36, 20 years ago, in a documentary about Diana, Princess of Wales.

Her “fun” parenting was also discussed by the princes.

They said Diana encouraged them to be “naughty” and smuggled candy to them.

She was a “total kid through and through” according to the princes, who knew “real life outside of palace walls”

They also recall “the best mother ever,” a mother who “brought a breath of fresh air to everything she did,” according to Harry, who was just 12 when she died.

The show includes never-before-seen pictures of the princes with their mother.

When Diana died, William, who was 15 at the time, recalls hearing the news as if a “earthquake had run through the house.” His brother admits that he has only cried twice since her death, the first at her funeral on the island of Althorp, where she is buried, and “probably only once since then. So there’s a lot of grief that still needs to be let out .”

Prince Harry and Prince William are seen browsing through Diana’s personal album as they discuss how their perceptions of their mother as an infant contrasted with her national reputation and presence as an activist for the homeless, Aids refugees, and the abolition of landmines.

Diana was killed in a traffic accident in Paris on August 31, 1997. William explains how the brothers were enjoying a “very good time” with their cousins at Balmoral, the Queen’s private Scottish estate, on the day she died.

“Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say ‘goodbye’, ‘see you later’ and ‘we’re going to go off’ … if I’d known what would happen I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it. But that phone calls sticks in my mind quite heavily,” he says.

Participating in the show was originally “quite daunting” but it turned out to be “a healing process as well” according to Prince William.

“We feel this is an appropriate way of doing that,” he said, adding that they wanted “her legacy to live on in our work.”

Harry admits that as a child, he believed that “not having a mother was normal.” He recalls becoming perplexed by the outpouring of sorrow, wondering, “How can so many people who have never met this woman, my mother, be crying and showing more emotion than I was feeling?”

The documentary captures their impressions of her as a fun mother in happier moments.

William recalls how she once surprised him by inviting three models to his home. “She organised when I came home from school to have Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell waiting at the top of the stairs, I was probably a 12- or 13-year-old boy who had posters of them on his wall. I went bright red and didn’t know quite what to say and sort of fumbled and I think pretty much fell down the stairs on the way up. I was completely and utterly awestruck .” “That was a very funny memory that’s lived with me forever.”

The last talk with their mother, the Duke of Cambridge said, weighed “quite heavily” on his conscience.

The incident occurred when the brothers were enjoying a “very good time” with their relatives at Balmoral, the Queen’s Scottish estate.

In the interview, Prince William says he remembers what his mother said, but he doesn’t go into depth about the discussion.

“It was her speaking from Paris,” Prince Harry said. “I can’t remember what I said, but all I remember is probably regretting how short the phone call was for the rest of my life.”

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