‘It’s taken me 20 years to come to terms with my mother’s death’: Prince William reveals his regret that Princess Diana didn’t get to meet Kate or her grandchildren
Prince William has spoken candidly about his mother’s death in his most honest interview ever as he stars in a heartwarming shoot at home with his family.
Posing in their garden at home with their dog Lupo, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, George and Charlotte, make a picture-perfect family in the candid GQ magazine shoot.
Prince William, who is the magazine’s cover star, opens up about family life, how he wished his late mother could have met Kate and the children and how it’s taken him 20 years to come to terms with her death.
The royal father-of-two says his grief is different to other people’s because ‘everyone knows the story’. He adds that he wishes Princess Diana, who was killed in a tragic car accident in 1997 when Prince William was 15, was around to watch his children grow up and says he will ‘fight’ for them to have a normal life.
William was interviewed by Tony Blair’s former communications chief and author, Alastair Campbell, who had a breakdown in the mid 80s and suffers with depression. The candid chat comes after Prince Harry did a similar interview admitting he fell into ‘total chaos’ following his mother’s death.
The royal, who was discussing his mother’s tragic death in 1997 and the issue of mental health as part of the Heads Together campaign, revealed that he’s in one of the best places he’s been – but it’s taken him 20 years to get there.
‘It has taken me almost 20 years to get to that stage,’ he admitted. ‘I still find it difficult now because at the time it was so raw. And also it is not like most people’s grief, because everyone else knows about it, everyone knows the story, everyone knows her.
‘I would like to have had her advice. I would love her to have met Catherine and to have seen the children grow up. It makes me sad that she won’t, that they will never know her.’
Dressed down in jeans, pumps and a jumper, 34-year-old Kate laughs into the camera whilst Princess Charlotte, two, and Prince George, three, play in the grass. Prince William, who dons a casual shirt and jeans, reclines in the grass in the image captured by iconic snapper, Norman Jean Roy.
Speaking about his close family unit, Prince William said: ‘I could not do my job without the stability of the family,’ says William in the poignant interview. ‘Stability at home is so important to me. I want to bring up my children in a happy, stable, secure world and that is so important to both of us as parents.
‘I want George to grow up in a real, living environment, I don’t want him growing up behind palace walls, he has to be out there. I will fight for them to have a normal life.’
Prince William features on the magazine cover – the second time in recent months that he’s posed for a cover.
The Duke of Cambridge was interviewed by Alastair Campbell and photographed by Norman Jean Roy for British GQ.
With a common cause to eradicate the taboo surrounding mental illness, interviewer Campbell is well known for his campaigning in this space.
In a wide-ranging conversation, the Duke exemplifies his determination to get the nation talking more about emotions and feelings.
Last month Prince William admitted he was ’emotional’ and needed ‘a minute to calm myself down’ as he spoke about how grief over his mother’s death sparked his desire to campaign on mental health issues.
Speaking at the preview of a documentary on the issue, he admitted: ‘I have my own reasons for being involved in mental health – what happened to me and my mother when I was younger.’
In an impassioned off-the-cuff speech after the screening, he added: ‘I’m speechless actually. I’m quite emotional. So I am just going to take a minute to calm myself down.’
The Prince, 34, who was 15 and staying with the Queen at Balmoral when his mother Princess Diana died in Paris, said: ‘The shock is the biggest thing, and I still feel it 20 years later about my mother.
‘People think shock can’t last that long, but it does. It’s such an unbelievably big moment in your life and it never leaves you, you just learn to deal with it.’
The Duke of Cambridge was speaking the same day as he called for the end of the ‘stiff upper lip’ culture, adding that for too long children have grown up feeling it was taboo or weak to talk about their emotions.
It came after his brother, Harry, gave a candid interview about his own battles, admitting he had two years of ‘total chaos’, often felt ‘on the verge of punching someone’ after failing to properly address his mother’s death.
Speaking during an interview that fired the issue to instant prominence, Prince Harry praised the support of his brother, William, for urging him to get help until he eventually saw a counsellor.
The father-of-two became the first royal to feature on the front of a gay magazine last year.
His Royal Highness appeared as the cover star of Attitude, a lifestyle magazine for the LGBT community, as he spoke out against homophobic bullying.