Prince William speaks of losing Princess Diana as a teenager: ‘Grief is the most painful experience’

Duke of Cambridge speaks at a dinner for Child Bereavement UK 

Heather Saul
Friday 16 October 2015 11:30 BST
William attends charity dinner

The Duke of Cambridge spoke of losing his mother in a moving address at a bereavement charity fundraising dinner.

Diana, Princess of Wales, died 19 years ago today.

In October, Prince William spoke at a dinner in Whitehall for the 21st anniversary of Child Bereavement UK (CBUK). The Prince told the charity, which supports families experiencing bereavement, that his mother would be “immensely proud” of their work.

Prince William was 15 when his mother was killed in a Paris car crash. He praised volunteers and staff for the “enormous, positive difference” they made to the parents and children supported by the charity, of which he is a patron, and said he understood their importance even more now he is a father of two.

He said the organisation “embraces strangers at the darkest moments in their life”.

The charity was first launched in 1994 with Diana as a keen supporter and William said his mother had recognised the grief losing a child can cause.

“Twenty-one years ago last month, my mother attended the launch of the Child Bereavement Charity.

“Fifteen years later, I was honoured to be invited to become Patron of Child Bereavement UK to continue my mother's commitment to a charity which is very dear to me.

“What my mother recognised back then – and what I understand now – is that grief is the most painful experience that any child or parent can endure.

“But my mother was determined to help those in need and she would have been immensely proud – as I am – of all that Child Bereavement UK has achieved these last 21 years.

“CBUK works with military families, with the wrecked families of suicide victims, with little children whose lives have been torn apart by the inexplicable death of a parent.

“And yet amid all this misery, CBUK - and I don't know how they do this - brings warmth, comfort, a guiding hand, a way through, even colour and joyfulness, and a renewed opportunity for love as a family reknits itself after tragedy.”

Gary Barlow and his wife, whose daughter Poppy was born stillborn in 2012, performed at the celebration dinner.

The singer said: “Dawn and I have always felt our own personal bereavement was too painful and private to talk or comment on publicly.

“Instead I will sing joyous music in support of Child Bereavement UK to say thank you for all the help it has given us and many other families.”

Additional reporting by the Press Association

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