Prince Harry and Prince William have been talking a lot about their late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in recent weeks. William’s GQ cover was just unveiled, in which he confessed in his “most candid interview” ever that it’s taken him nearly 20 years to get to a place where he’s comfortable enough to talk about his mom. And it was a little over a month ago that Harry revealed on a podcast that he had sought out therapy, because his mother’s death took such a toll he didn’t know how to deal with the grief. Now we have even more insight.
In a new documentary, Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors, biographer Tina Brown revealed the situation when 12-year-old Harry first learned his mother had died. His reaction was like that of so many people, who are simply in disbelief after receiving shocking news.
“Prince Harry actually asked his father, ‘Is it true that Mummy’s dead?'” Brown discloses in the doc. “The children couldn’t understand why everything was as normal, except a couple of hours earlier they’d been told their mother had died.”
Harry’s confusion reportedly stemmed from the fact that, in the days following that fateful day on Aug. 31, 1997, the royal family went about their lives as if nothing had happened. They even attended church services the following morning, where there was no mention of Diana’s death. It was believed that the Queen made that decision so as not to upset her grandsons, but others thought that it echoed that “cold detachment” Diana felt from the royals during her life with them.
“The first thing we saw of the boys was when they were going to church for Sunday service,” recalled royal biographer Ingrid Seward. “And people were saying, ‘How could they? These boys have just lost their mother.'”
But the documentary argues that the Queen wanted to keep the “heartbreaking” details of her death from the princes, even ordering all TVs and radios to be removed to protect them from the truth.
It’s not our call to make, but child professionalssuggest that at 15 and 12, William and Harry probably could’ve handled the truth about the tragic car accident that killed Diana, her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, and maybe, just maybe been better able to process and deal with it. Instead, as the young princes have revealed, they buried their emotions for so long, it’s really little wonder William seemed so closed off, and Harry went off the rails for a bit there.
It makes you think twice about how passionate both Harry and William are about mental health issues, and how they can’t stress enough just how important it is to open up and not bottle it up. These aren’t just two royals getting involved with a cause they think looks good on paper; they’ve lived it.