It’s hard to believe it’s already been more than two decades since Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident in August 1997. The late Princess of Wales left an undeniable legacy in the royal family, and fans hold onto their favorite memories of her through old photos with sons Prince William and Prince Harry.
Aside from all the endearing family snapshots, William and Harry have also been carrying on their late mom’s legacy. Diana’s eldest son, William, once opened up about having Diana as a mom and revealed how he’s been coping with her death since he was 15 years old.
“I think when you are bereaved at a very young age — anytime really, but particularly at a young age — I can resonate closely to that,” he candidly shared on the BBC’s A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health. “You feel pain like no other pain.”
William also revealed how his mother’s death affected the way he raises his three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, whom he shares with wife Duchess Kate (née Middleton). While recalling the moment Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, the Duke of Cambridge said being a father of his own kids brings back those painful memories.
“Having children is the biggest life-changing moment, it really is,” the royal dad explained in the film Football, Prince William and our Mental Health. “I think when you’ve been through something traumatic in life, and that is like you say, your dad not being around, my mother dying when I was younger, the emotions come back, in leaps and bounds.”
Although Harry stepped back from his royal duties in January 2020, he spent decades following in his mom’s footsteps as a member of the royal family. Just months before Harry and wife Meghan Markle announced their plans to leave the U.K. and move to North America, the proud dad got candid about struggling with Diana’s loss.
“I think being part of this family — in this role, in this job — every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he explained in ITV’s document, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, in October 2019. “In that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best.”
Harry noted honoring the beloved beauty and “trying to finish what she started” was an “incredibly emotional” road. “Everything that I do reminds me of her,” he continued. “But as I said — with the role, with the job and sort of the pressures that come with that — I get reminded of the bad stuff.”
Since the duke and Meghan gave up their royal duties, there’s been a growing rift between Harry, William and other family members. Paul Burrell, who was Diana‘s former assistant for over 20 years, offered an idea of what sort of advice the family matriarch would’ve offered her sons. “Diana would say to them, ‘Boys, you’re both my boys. I love you both equally,'” Paul told In Touch Weekly. “I love you both dearly. Sort it out.'”
With Harry and William both reuniting at Diana’s statue unveiling ceremony on July 1, hopefully this can be the start of them mending their relationship.
To see Diana’s cutest photos with William and Harry through the years, scroll through the gallery below.
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