Prince Harry and Prince William’s First Reaction When Their Mother, Princess Diana, Died

From her down-to-earth demeanor to her family values and philanthropic work, Princess Diana stands as one of the most beloved royals of all time. Not only was she great with the commoners who adored her, but she was known for her rebellious parenting skills, too. ABC News recalls while other royal women were firm believers in keeping their children at arm’s length, Diana wanted nothing more than to show her children everything she could about the world.

Now, her sons, Prince Harry and Prince William, are grown up with wives (and in one case, children) of their own. Here’s what they said their first reaction was to their mother dying.

Princess Diana broke tradition when raising her kids

Princess Diana

Princess Diana | Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images

Through the year’s, royal women have enacted a lot of tough love on their kids — and ABC News reports most of them (if not all) also didn’t breastfeed. That changed as soon as Princess Diana was on the scene. Not only was Diana most likely the first royal woman to choose breastfeeding, but Prince William was also the first heir to the throne to be born outside of the palace and in an actual hospital. And her actions gave today’s modern royal women, like Prince William’s wife, Kate, the opportunity to follow in her footsteps.

William and Harry grew quite close to their mother as they grew up as well. And she wasn’t scared to expose them to the world instead of keeping them within the confines of the castle grounds. William was actually the first heir to the throne to attend public school. And she took both of her sons out for fast food, to the movie theater, to amusement parks, and to visit the homeless.

Details on Princess Diana’s shocking death

Diana was with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, in Paris the night of her death. As the couple was leaving the Ritz Hotel, the media were hot on their tails. And this caused Fayed and Diana and to speed through the streets of Paris in hopes of losing the press.

Unfortunately, we know the chase doesn’t end well. The limousine that was carrying them both crashed into a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma Bridge tunnel. Fayed died at the scene, as did the French driver, Henri Paul. Diana was alive at first when paramedics arrived on the scene, but she later died in the hospital from cardiac arrest due to significant damage to her arteries. At the time of her death, Diana was just 36.

Prince Harry and Prince William’s reaction

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, and Prince William | Johnny Eggitt/AFP/Getty Images

Town & Country notes William and Harry both opened up about losing their mother on the HBO documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. At the time, William was 15, and Harry was just 12. And their last conversation with their mother was over the phone. Later, in regards to the call, Harry recounted, “I can’t really, necessarily, remember what I said. But all I do remember is probably, you know, regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was. And if I’d known that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother—the things I would have said to her.”

Harry also recalled Diana’s funeral, which was attended by thousands and recorded for TV. He said he had to walk behind her coffin as millions watched, all while he was just a child. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

As for William, he said hearing the news of his mother was like nothing else in the entire world. “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,” he said in the documentary.

Dealing with the aftermath today

William recalled that he and Harry did their best to deal with the pain, but it was hard to communicate their feelings at such a young age. And Harry has said that he’s only cried a handful of times about her death and there’s still “a lot of grief” that needs to be released.

The two young men have since done their best to move forward and continue philanthropic efforts in the spirit of their mother. Harry, William, and Kate have since created the Heads Together charity which helps to raise awareness of mental health issues for young folks, veterans, and the homeless. And of course, William talks about Diana with his young children and keeps her memory alive with photos around their home.

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