Even af­ter 20 years,we can feel her warmth and her hugs

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - DIANA MEMORIES OF MUMMY - By Sarah Oliver

FAM­ILY, said Diana, Princess of Wales, ‘is the most im­por­tant thing in the world’. From the mo­ment she con­fided in her child­hood nanny that her only am­bi­tion was to fall in love and have lots of chil­dren, to her fi­nal days with Wil­liam and Harry, it was the phi­los­o­phy she lived by.

It left a legacy of ex­tra­or­di­nary pic­tures that – even two decades af­ter her death – still speak elo­quently about her re­la­tion­ship with her sons.

As Harry said last month: ‘She was the best mum in the world. She smoth­ered us with love, that’s for sure. I miss hav­ing that mother to… give you those hugs and that com­pas­sion that ev­ery­body needs.’

Wil­liam added: ‘She was ex­tremely good at show­ing her love, show­ing what we meant to her, what feel­ings meant and how im­por­tant it was to feel. Even af­ter 20 years, I still feel that love... that warmth which is a huge tes­ta­ment to her.’

This sum­mer the two princes have opened up to share their mem­o­ries of their mother in a se­ries of mov­ing in­ter­views in print and on tele­vi­sion to mark the 20th an­niver­sary of her death.

Their par­tic­i­pa­tion in ITV doc­u­men­tary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy, broad­cast last month, and tonight’s BBC spe­cial, Diana, 7 Days, has pro­vided the most in­ti­mate por­trait yet of Diana.

It is the first time the princes have spo­ken in depth about her life and loss and, they say, it will be the last.

‘Part of the rea­son that Harry and I want to do this is be­cause we feel we owe it to her,’ Wil­liam tells the BBC. ‘I think an el­e­ment of it is feel­ing like we let her down when we were younger. We couldn’t pro­tect her.’

On the same pro­gramme, Harry adds: ‘It’s never go­ing to be easy for the two of us to talk about our mother, but 20 years on seems like a good time to re­mind peo­ple of the dif­fer­ence that she made, not just to the royal fam­ily, but also to the world.’

What emerges is how hard they have tried to keep alive the princess’s name and work, which they use as a par­a­digm for their own pub­lic ser­vice.

‘She had such warmth, she wanted to make peo­ple feel spe­cial,’ says Wil­liam. ‘She re­alised she was in a unique po­si­tion and could make peo­ple smile and feel bet­ter about them­selves.

‘If I can be even a frac­tion of what she was, I will be proud and hope­fully make her proud. Some­thing so trau­matic as the death of your mother when you are 15, it will ei­ther make or break you. And I wouldn’t let it break me. I wanted it to make me.’

But as Harry ad­mits on the same pro­gramme: ‘When you are that young and some­thing like that hap­pens to you it is lodged in your heart and your head and stays there for a very long time.’

The best les­son the princess taught her sons was, adds Harry, ‘be your­self in ev­ery­thing you do and give as much as you can’. Just as she did for them.

Here, to cel­e­brate the way she lit up her boys’ lives – and they lit up hers – we present the best pic­tures of their tooshort time to­gether, with words taken from the princes’ tribute in­ter­views.

The cud­dles she gave them, the laugh­ter they shared and the aching loss that they felt when she was taken from them so sud­denly – all are laid bare in pow­er­ful re­flec­tions on the role Diana loved best of all: be­ing mother to her two adored lit­tle princes.

She would just en­gulf you and squeeze you as tight as pos­si­ble. Even talk­ing about it now, I can feel the hugs she used to give us and I miss that feel­ing Harry

She was very in­for­mal and re­ally en­joyed the laugh­ter and the fun. She un­der­stood there was a life out­side of palace walls Wil­liam Our mother was a to­tal kid through and through. When ev­ery­body says to me, ‘So she was fun, give me an ex­am­ple,’ all I can hear is her laugh in my head. And that sort of crazy laugh where there was just pure hap­pi­ness shown on her face Harry

I gen­uinely think she got sat­is­fac­tion out of dress­ing my­self and Wil­liam up in the most bizarre out­fits – nor­mally match­ing. It was weird shorts and lit­tle shiny shoes with the old clip-on. Look­ing back at the pho­tos, it just makes me laugh and I think, ‘How could you do that to us?’ Harry

Diana and Wil­liam fail to hide their amuse­ment at some­one else’s ex­pense in Windsor Great Park in 1991

The princes and their mother share a joke with Thorpe Park’s former man­ager Colin Daw­son on the Log­gers Leap in 1992

A de­lighted Diana is re­united with her boys (above) on the Royal Yacht Bri­tan­nia in Toronto in Oc­to­ber 1991, dur­ing the fam­ily’s firstever over­seas tour as a four­some. She en­folds Wil­liam in her arms (right and be­low right) be­fore smoth­er­ing him in...

A sleepy two-year-old Harry sucks his thumb as he cud­dles into his mother dur­ing a 1986 sum­mer hol­i­day to Ma­jorca. Charles, Diana and the princes were the guests of King Juan Car­los and Queen Sofia of Spain

Diana of­ten dressed her sons in match­ing out­fits. They are pic­tured here in le­mon shorts and white sweat­shirts at Aberdeen Air­port ahead of their Bal­moral sum­mer break in 1986 Iden­ti­cal blue shorts and striped tops for a dressed­down day at Smith’s Lawn...

Even Wil­liam and Harry’s iden­ti­cal pow­der-blue dress coats couldn’t steal the lime­light from Zara Phillips’s teddy muff dur­ing an out­ing in San­dring­ham just af­ter New Year 1988

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