Prince William and Prince Harry were just 15 and 12 when their mother Princess Diana passed away in August 1997. In recent years, the Princes have opened up about losing their mother at such a young age, as well as the huge influence she has had on their charity work.
Twenty years after her tragic death, both William and Harry have also spoken openly about coping with grief and their individual struggles with mental health issues as part of their Heads Together campaign. And as they commemorate their mother’s philanthropic efforts, we are reminded why Diana will always be remembered as the “People’s Princess.”
Here are some of the most moving things the Princes have said in tribute to their late mum.
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On dealing with grief
“Time makes it easier. I still miss my mother every day — and it’s 20 years after she died,” Prince William said when he met a 14-year-old boy who was grieving the loss of his own mother during a visit to Keech Hospice in Luton, August 2016.
“I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” Prince Harry revealed to The Telegraph, April 2017. “I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and all sorts of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle.”
On their desire to make their mother proud
“I hope she’s looking down, you know, with tears in her eyes, being incredibly proud of what we’ve established, I suppose,” Prince Harry said in an interview with Good Morning America, March 2016. “I’m sure she’s longing for me to have kids so she can be a grandmother again. I hope that everything we do privately and officially, that it makes her proud. I think losing your mother at such a young age does end up shaping your life massively. Of course, it does, and now I find myself trying to be there and give advice to other people who are in similar positions.”
On recognising their mother’s positive impact
“She visited hospitals late at night to comfort patients; she spent hours writing letters to privately support the work of others; she achieved a lot by shining a spotlight, but she worked just as hard when the cameras were gone,” Prince Harry said during The Diana Award ceremony at St James’s Palace, May 2017.
On the sadness that their mother will never know her grandchildren
“I would like to have had her advice,” William said in an interview with GQ’s July 2017 issue. “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.”
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On the memory of their mother
“Every day, I know I do and I’m sure William does as well, whatever we do, wherever we are and whoever we’re with I particularly always wonder what she’d think, what she’d be doing if she was with us now,” Prince Harry said in interview with ITV in June 2010. “If she’d be sitting here having a laugh, whether she’d be in the background sticking her tongue out or whether she’d be playing football with the children. That’s what keeps us going every day – that thought of what would she be like if she was around today. It’s refreshing because we both have our own opinion of what she’d be like and ‘mad’ would be one word to describe her.”
On “standing up” for their mum
“Part of the reason why Harry and I want to do this is because we feel we owe it to her,” William is to say in a BBC documentary about his mother, due to be broadcast later this year. “I think an element of it is feeling like we let her down when we were younger. We couldn’t protect her. We feel we at least owe her 20 years on to stand up for her name and remind everybody of the character and person that she was. Do our duties as sons in protecting her.”
On continuing Diana’s legacy
“What my mother recognised back then – and what I understand now – is that grief is the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure,” Prince William said at the 21st anniversary of Child Bereavement UK in London, October 2015. “But my mother was determined to help those in need and she would have been immensely proud – as I am – of all that Child Bereavement UK has achieved these last 21 years. As a father to two young children, I now appreciate it all the more.”
“We will do everything we can to make sure that she’s never forgotten and carry on all the special gifts, as such, that she had and that she portrayed while she was alive,” Prince Harry told Good Morning America in March 2016.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK