On Monday 31 August Prince William and Prince Harry will mark the 23rd anniversary of the death of their mother Princess Diana. It’s been 23 years since the People’s Princess was fatally killed in a car accident in Paris and while her sons will remember her in private, the brothers have spoken publicly many times before about missing their mother.
William and Harry also appeared in a pair of TV documentaries for the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in 2017, where they spoke extensively about their beloved mum. Let ‘s look over the years at their most unforgettable quotes …
Prince Harry spoke in August about the lives that his mother affected when he announced that he and his brother Prince William commissioned a statue in her honor. “Our mother has touched so many lives. We hope that the statue would allow those visiting Kensington Palace to focus on her life and her legacy.” The statue will be installed next year on what her 60th birthday would have been.
In an exclusive conversation with HELLO! Prince Harry said in May 2016 that he and his brother were eager to build a ‘permanent shrine’ for their mother. “There is something that needs to be set in stone or as a memory in place,” he said. “Lot of people are still talking about her. We still think about her every single day.”
When Harry approached Meghan Markle to speak in 2017, he soon turned to his mother during an interview with the BBC, acknowledging that the celebration was bittersweet. “There are days like … days like today that I just miss having her around and miss being able to share the good news. But you know with the ring and everything else that ‘s going on …” I ‘m sure she’s with us there, you know, jumping up and down somewhere else.
When his mum died, William was only 15, while Harry was 12.
Prince William, speaking in an interview with GQ, opened up about his disappointment that Diana will never know his kids. “I wish I had her advice,” he said. “I ‘d love to meet Catherine and see the kids grow up. It makes me sad she won’t, they’ll never know her.”
Soon after he declared his commitment to Kate, Prince William talked about giving the sapphire ring to his fiancee Princess Diana. “It’s the ring of engagement for my mother,” he said in their interview on engagement. “So I thought it was pretty cool. Obviously she’s not there to share the fun and excitement of it all so this is my way to hold her close to everything.”
Princes William and Harry sat down to talk with their mother in a BBC1 series. William said: “Part of the reason Harry and I want to do this is that we feel we owe it to her … I think an aspect of it is feeling like we were letting her down when we were younger. We couldn’t protect her. We feel we owe her at least 20 years to stand up for her name and remind everyone that she was a character and lady. Do our duties as sons to protect her.”
William talked about his sorrow in the same GQ interview after his mum died when he was just fifteen. “I’m in a better position than I’ve been about it for a long time, where I can talk more freely about her, talk more frankly about her, and I can remember her better, and speak more publicly about her,” he said.
“It took me nearly 20 years to get to that point. I still find it challenging now, because it was so raw at the time. It’s just not like the sadness of other people, because everyone else knows about it, everyone knows the story, everyone knows her.”
Speaking in BBC1 documentary, Harry said: “When she died there was such an outpouring of emotion and love that was very overwhelming. It was sad at the same time, and it was incredible, looking back at it now, it was great that our mother had such an immense influence on people.”
The proud son continued: “If you’re that young and something like that happens to you, I think it’s stuck here, there, everywhere – in your heart, in your head and it’s staying there for a long time . I think it’s never going to be easy for two of us to speak about our mother, but 20 years on it seems like a good time to remind people of the difference she made not only to the Royal Family but also to the Royal Family.
Remembering Diana fondly, Prince Harry said: “She was our mum. She’s still our mum. And, of course, I ‘d say this as a kid-she was the world’s best mum. She smothered us with affection, that’s for sure.”
The pair spoke about the fun side of Princess Diana, with Prince William saying, “She was really casual and always loved the laughter and the fun,” before Harry added, “She was one of the most naughti parents.”
Harry expanded in their documentary Princess Diana, Our Mum, revealing: “She was one of the naughtiest parents. She would come and watch us play football, and smuggle candy into our socks, you know.
And I mean like coming back actually from a football match and getting sort of five Starburst packets. And all the shirt was just bubbling with candy and looking about, opening the tuck box, tossing it all in, locking it up.
Speaking about whether Princess Diana is proud of the Head’s Together program, Prince Harry said: “I hope so. I think she ‘d be proud of this movement, proud of everyone involved and proud of us. But especially proud of the United Kingdom for holding this discussion … From her viewpoint, she will be amazed and profoundly inspired by the fact that the United Kingdom has finally achieved this stage-and it only took a year.
Speaking of her death, William said: “We felt, you know, beautifully loved, Harry and I, and I am so thankful that love is still there-it still feels, even 20 years on. And I think it’s a big compliment to her that I can still feel it now.”
He continued: “I think she would be proud that Harry and I managed to get through everything that happened, losing her, and that gives me positivity and courage to know that I can, I can handle everything that the world can throw at me.”
During Princess Diana: Our mother, William joked she was going to be a grandmother “nightmare.” He said: “She ‘d be a nightmare grandma, she ‘d be an utter nightmare. She ‘d love the kids to pieces, but she’d be an absolute nightmare. She ‘d come and go and she’d probably come in at bath time, create an enormous amount of scene, bubbles everywhere, bathwater everywhere and-and then leave.”
During her latest documentary, William told stories about her mother: “She was a big card writer. She liked the rudest cards you might imagine, and I’d be in school and get a card from my mother. Typically, you know, she found something very awkward, you know, a very funny card, and then she wrote some very sweet stuff inside.
Speaking of a particularly funny memory, William said: “There are a few memories I have that are especially funny. Just outside this room where we are now, she gathered Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell waiting at the top of the stairs when I came home from school. I was probably a 12 or 13-year-old boy with posters on my wall and I went bright red, and I think I pretty much fell down the stairs on way up. I was utterly sort of awestruck. But that was a very funny memory that – that’s lived with me forever about her loving and embarrassing and sort of, you know being – being the sort of joker.”