Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Prince Harry shares memories of public crying at Diana’s funeral: ‘This was my mum, you never even met her’

Duke of Sussex says he no longer wanted royal life following his mother’s death in 1997

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Friday 21 May 2021 13:10 BST
Prince Harry says he didn’t want to ‘share grief’ of Diana’s death with world
Leer en Español

Prince Harry has opened up about the trauma of his mother Princess Diana’s funeral, and the difficulty he felt at watching the world cry for her.

The Duke of Sussex spoke candidly about the impact his mother’s death had on his mental health during a new Apple TV+ docu-series with Oprah Winfrey titled: The Me You Can’t See.

While reflecting on the tragic 31 August 1997 car accident, and his mother’s widely televised funeral watched by more than 31 million people around the world, Harry revealed that he had struggled with “sharing the grief of my mother’s death with the world”.

Follow live: Prince William claims BBC fueled Diana’s ‘fears’ as Harry says exploitation took her life

“When my mum was taken away from me at the age of 12, just before my 13th birthday, I didn’t want the life,” Harry recalled. “Sharing the grief of my mother’s death with the world…”

Harry then shared the memory that he recalls most clearly from that day, telling Winfrey: “For me, the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horses’ hooves going along the mall, red brick road. By this point, both of us were in shock.”

According to the duke, he remembers the experience as feeling like he was “outside” of his body and “just walking along doing what’s expected of me,” acknowledging that he was showing “one-tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing”.

The docu-series then transitioned to footage from the day of Diana’s funeral, where the thousands of people who lined the streets to watch the procession could be seen crying and expressing their grief over her death.

The displays of grief from strangers were difficult for Harry, who told Winfrey: “I was like: ‘This is my mum. You never even met her.’”

Harry’s admission prompted Winfrey to question “whether those of us who admired and loved your mother from afar probably did more processing of her passing than you did,” to which the duke confirmed: “Without question.”

According to Harry, after his mother died, he also felt anger over what had happened and that there was “no justice,” telling Winfrey that he eventually stopped thinking about it because it was too painful.

“I don’t want to think about her. Because if I think about her, then it’s going to bring up the fact that I can’t bring her back and it’s just going to make me sad, what the point in thinking about something sad, what’s the point in thinking about someone that you’ve lost and you’re never going to get back again?” he said. “And I just decided not to talk about it.”

This is not the first time Prince Harry has opened up about the difficulty of his mother’s funeral, as he previously revealed while speaking with Newsweek that he doesn’t think any child should have been put in the situation he was, where he was made to walk behind Diana’s coffin.

“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he said at the time, adding: “I don’t think any child should be made to do that under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

During the interview, Harry also spoke of his eventual decision to seek mental health counselling at Meghan Markle’s suggestion, and his regret over not speaking out sooner against the racism his wife was being subjected to early in their relationship.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in