Diana’s boys re­veal their grief

In­ter­view marks 20 years since Paris car crash

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LON­DON: Prince William has con­fessed he and Prince Harry felt they let their mother down be­cause they failed to pro­tect her.

The Duke of Cam­bridge made the emo­tional ad­mis­sion in a ma­jor BBC in­ter­view about the week that fol­lowed Princess Diana’s death in a car crash in 1997.

He said he and his brother were fi­nally ready to talk about their mother “be­cause we feel we owe it to her”. He added: “I think an el­e­ment of it is feel­ing like we let her down when we were younger.”

William, who was 15 at the time, con­tin­ued: “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 she was. Do our du­ties as sons in pro­tect­ing her.”

The in­ter­view will fea­ture in a 90-minute BBC1 doc­u­men­tary to “mark the 20th an­niver­sary of Diana’s death in Paris in Au­gust 1997. The princes told of the mo­ment they heard the news their mother died, and de­scribed how they felt as young boys fol­low­ing their mother’s cof­fin at her fu­neral, a scene that moved the world.

Harry ad­mit­ted he was shocked by the public’s show of love for his mother.

“When she died there was such an out­pour of emo­tion and love which was quite shock­ing,” he said.

“It was beau­ti­ful at the same time… now look­ing back at it, it was amaz­ing that our mother had such a huge ef­fect on so many peo­ple. When you’re that young and some­thing like that hap­pens to you I think it’s lodged in here, there, wher­ever – in your heart, in your head and it stays there for a very, very long time.

“I think 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 she made, not just to the royal fam­ily but to the world.”

The in­ter­view was made public days af­ter Diana’s bi­og­ra­pher, jour­nal­ist Tina Brown, de­scribed how the young princes were left in a state of con­fu­sion im­me­di­ately af­ter their mother’s death.

She said Harry, then 12, was so puz­zled the royal palaces con­tin­ued run­ning as nor­mal that he had to ask Prince Charles, “Is it true that Mummy’s dead?”

The BBC’s pro­gramme – which has a work­ing ti­tle of Diana and will air in midyear – prom­ises to tell “the in­side story of the tu­mul­tuous and un­prece­dented week” fol­low- ing Diana’s shock­ing death.

It is the first time William and Harry have spo­ken about the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math in such de­tail. They will also re­flect on Diana’s life and what she meant to them, open­ing up about their last­ing grief.

They have been more public about the mat­ter in re­cent months. William told GQ mag­a­zine this week he has only re­cently come to terms with Diana’s death.

“I still find it dif­fi­cult to talk about now be­cause at the time it was so raw,” he said.

He also lamented the fact that his mother never had the chance to meet his wife, Kate, or his chil­dren.

The BBC film will in­clude in­ter­views with close friends, po­lit­i­cal fig­ures and jour­nal­ists. Diana died on Au­gust 31, 1997, af­ter a car crash in Paris that killed her lover Dodi Fayed and their chauf­feur Henri Paul.

The doc­u­men­tary fol­lows a con­tro­ver­sial BBC royal drama which ques­tioned whether Charles was Harry’s real fa­ther and de­picted Diana as a ghost. King Charles III also por­trayed Kate as a ruth­less schemer. The pro­gramme, orig­i­nally a West End play, drew fierce crit­i­cism for be­ing in­sen­si­tive to the roy­als.

The Diana film was un­veiled as part of 35 hours of BBC his­tory, sci­ence, re­li­gion and fac­tual pro­grammes.

Fac­tual com­mis­sion­ing con­troller Ali­son Kirkham said: “No sub­ject should be taboo. We can’t and won’t shy away from am­bi­tious, com­pli­cated pro­grammes.” – Daily Mail

PIC­TURES: AP

Princes William and Harry talk about their mother, Princess Diana, right, in a ma­jor BBC in­ter­view about the week af­ter her death.

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