William & Harry discuss Diana & Charles in ‘Diana, 7 Days’

William & Harry discuss Diana & Charles in ‘Diana, 7 Days’

The BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days finally aired here in the US on Friday. I know many people are Diana-ed out at this point, but I thought it was worth talking about Prince William and Prince Harry‘s interviews for the program, especially since people have asked if I’m going to cover it. The 90-minute documentary includes interviews with other people, including former PM Tony Blair, but I am only quoting William and Harry. Reportedly, other royals were asked to take part, but they refused.

It is important to note that all of the interviews William and Harry have given about Diana this year, including the multiple documentaries and Harry’s Newsweek interview where he said “I don’t think any child should be asked” to walk behind their parents’ coffin in public, were done around the same time in March of this year.

I typically leave in most, if not all, of the filler words when I quote the trio because I prefer having a full transcript of what they said, but I’ve taken out most of the filler words and stuttering here because William and Harry used so many filler words and did so much stuttering that the transcript would have been unreadable if I hadn’t removed what wasn’t necessary.

    William on the last call with Diana: “As she was away abroad, remember getting a phone call at the time, you know, you think it’s just a parent ringing up to have a chat and say hi and I think both Harry and I spoke to her and said we were missing her and when was she back and that sort of stuff.”
    Harry on the last call with Diana: “I think it was probably about tea time for us and I was the typical young kid running around, playing games with my brother and our cousins, and being told mummy’s on the phone, mummy’s on the phone, it’s like, right okay ugh, you know, we want to play, really want to play, and it’s just, if I’d known that was the last time I was going to speak to her the conversation would have gone in a very different direction. And I have to live with that for the rest of my life, knowing that I was that twelve year old boy wanting to get off the phone, and wanting to go run around and play games rather than speak to my mum, um, you know.”
    Harry on his emotions following the news that Diana died: “Disbelief. Refused to accept it. There was no sort of sudden outpour of grief – of course there wasn’t – I don’t think anybody in that position at that age would be able to understand the concept of what that actually means going forward.”
    William on his emotions following the news that Diana died: “I remember just feeling completely numb, disorientated, dizzy, and you feel very, very confused. And you keep asking yourself, why me, all the time, why, why? What have I done? Why has this happened to us?”
    Harry on Charles being there after Diana died: “One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that your other parent has died. How you deal with that, I don’t know. But, you know, he was there for us. He was the one out of two left, and he tried to do his best to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But you know, he was going through the same grieving process as well.”
    William on The Queen protecting her family after Diana’s death: “At the time, you know, my grandmother wanted to protect her two grandsons and my father as well. Our grandmother deliberately removed the newspapers and things like that. There was nothing in the house at all, so we didn’t know what was going on. And back then, obviously, there were no smartphones and things like that so you couldn’t get your news. And thankfully at the time, to be honest, we had the privacy to mourn and to kind of collect our thoughts, and to try and just have that space away from everybody. We had no idea that the reaction to her death would be quite so, you know, huge.”
    William on the press intrusion: “Very sadly a lot of my memories revolve around trying to cheer her up. I believe she cried more to do with press intrusion than anything else in her life. The impact it was having on her that we would then see and feel and it was very difficult to understand, she was subjected to treatment that frankly nowadays people would find utterly appalling.”
    William on press intrusion, continued: “We’d go looking for her, to talk to her, to play, whatever, she’d be crying. And when that was the case, it was to do with press. She’d had a confrontation on the way to the gym, on the way outside, just trying to do day to day stuff. The damage for me was being a little boy aged eight, nine, ten, whatever it was, wanting to protect your mother and finding it very difficult seeing her upset. About every single time she went out there’d be a pack of people waiting for her. And I mean a pack, like a pack of dogs, followed her, chased her, harassed her, called her names, spat at her, tried to get a reaction to get that photograph of her lashing out, get her upset.”
    Harry on press intrusion: “You know it was very hard for William and I knowing that there was absolutely nothing we could do. And one of those really hard, bad memories was on the way to a tennis lesson and she was so fed up by being chased by guys on motorbikes and in cars that she stopped the car down a side street on the way to the Harbor Club and she jumped out the car and went running up to these guys and just shouted and screamed at them while they took photographs of her, and that lasted about five minutes, and I just remember being stuck in the backseat with my seatbelt on unable to turn around and trying to look in the mirror to see what was going on, all I could hear was screaming. And then she jumped back in the car and she couldn’t even talk to us, she just had eyes were just balling out, and she was just constantly crying. And I just remember William and I looked at each other and then stared out the window and just thought, ‘Is this the way it’s going to be for the rest of our lives?’ It was hard.”
    Harry on the paparazzi taking photographs of Diana dying: “I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her into the tunnel were the same people who were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the backseat of the car. And William and I know that, we’ve been told that numerous times by people that know that was the case. She’d had quite a severe head injury but she was very much still alive on the backseat, and those people that caused the accident, instead of helping, were taking photographs of her on the backseat, and then those photographs made their way back to newsdesks in this country.”
    William on the royals’ choice to keep William and Harry at Balmoral: “I don’t think anyone, even my grandmother, had never seen anything like this before. So I think all of us were in new territory. But for Harry and I, you know, my grandmother and my father believed that we were better served and better off out in Balmoral, having the walks and the space and the peace to kind of be with the family and not be immersed or having to deal with serious decisions or worries straight away.”
    Harry on the timing of private versus public grieving: “It was a case of how do we let the boys grieve in privacy but at the same time when is the right time for them to put on their prince hats and carry out duties to mourn not just their mother but the Princess of Wales and a very public audience.”
    William on The Queen decisions following Diana’s death: “I think it was a very hard decision for my grandmother to make. She felt very torn between being the grandmother to William and Harry, and her Queen role. And I think she, you know, like I said, everyone was surprised and taken aback by the scale of what happened and the nature of how quickly it all happened. Plus the fact that she was or had been challenging the royal family for many years beforehand.”
    William on talking to the media: “I can understand having sometimes been in those situations when you feel incredibly desperate and it’s very unfair and things are being said that aren’t true, the easiest thing to say or to go to the media yourself or, you know, open that door. But once you’ve opened it, you can never close it again.”
    William on viewing flowers at the gates of Balmoral: “We went to the service at Crathie church right next to Balmoral, and there were quite a few flowers there and a few people turned up… I remember looking at the flowers and looking at the notes that were left and was very touched by it, but none of it sank in. All I cared about was I’d lost my mother and I didn’t want to be where I was… When we go out and do things like that, in order not to completely and utterly break down you have to put on a bit of a game face and you have to be quite strong about it because otherwise you’re a walking mess. And so Harry and I, at that age, you know, already understood the duty family point.”
    Harry on viewing flowers at the gates of Balmoral: “I don’t remember the service, but I sure remember coming back in the car, stopping and getting out by the front gates of Balmoral… Looking back, that was probably the last thing I wanted to do was read what other people were saying about my mother. Yes it was amazing, it was incredibly moving to know, but at that point I was still, I wasn’t there. I was still in shock. I was wearing a tiny little stranger blazer with a horrible tie, and to read other people’s outpouring of grief was was quite odd, when you’re in a position almost as though people are expecting you to grieve in private, and I’m thinking to myself, well, to whose benefit would that be?… Looking back on it, I’m glad that I never cried in public because that was, there was a fine line between work, grieving while working and grieving in private. Even if someone tried to get me to cry in public, I couldn’t. I probably still can’t. And that’s probably from all of that, from what happened then had changed me in that sense.”
    William on Diana: “She had such warmth. I think she wanted to make people feel special. She realized she was in a unique position and if she could make people smile and make people feel better about themselves then her job for that day was done.”
    Harry on Diana: “The best lesson I learned from her is be yourself. Be yourself in everything that you do, and just give as much as you can.”
    Harry on the flowers outside KP: “Kensington Palace, when we came back down here, and there was what seemed like more than a hundred thousand bunches of flowers from the gates of Kensington Palace all the down to Kensington High Street.”
    William on the shock of the public’s response when he met crowds outside KP: “What was very peculiar but obviously incredibly touching was everybody crying. I mean, the wailing and the crying was going on, people wanted to touch us and everything. It was, again I was fifteen and Harry was twelve. It was like nothing you could really describe, it was very unusual… There were people that wanted to grab us, to touch us, to hold us. They were shouting, wailing, literally wailing at us. Throwing flowers and yelling, and sobbing, breaking down. People fainted, collapsed.”
    Harry on the shock of the public’s response when he met crowds outside KP: “The way that people were grabbing us and pulling you into their arms and stuff. I don’t blame anybody for that, of course I don’t, but it was those moments that were sort of, I don’t know, they were quite shocking… I remember people screaming, I remember people crying, people’s hands that were wet because of the tears they had just wiped away from their faces before shaking my hand. It was almost as though some people were crying so much, hoping, I think it was so unusual for people to see individual, young boys not crying when everyone else was crying. What we were doing, what was being asked of us, verging on normal then, but now it’s like, you did what? Looking at us then, we much have been in this state of shock.”
    William on Diana’s loneliness: “I think it is quite isolating, quite lonely when you’re on your own. And particularly after she got divorced I think life sort of closes down on you a bit, you lose some of your support, you lose some of your confidence.”
    William on the decision to walk behind Diana’s coffin: “It wasn’t an easy decision, and it was a collective family decision to do that. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But we were overwhelmed by how many people turned out, it was just incredible. There was that balance between duty and family and that’s what we had to do.”
    Harry on the decision to walk behind Diana’s coffin: “I think it was a group decision. But before I knew it, I found myself with a suit on with a black tie and a white shirt, I think, and I was part of it. Genuinely, I don’t have an opinion on whether that was right or wrong. I’m glad I was part of it. Looking back on it now, I’m very glad I was part of it.”
    William on the actual walk: “I think that was the hardest thing was that walk; it was a very long, lonely walk. But again, the balance between me being Prince William and having to do my bit versus the private William who just wanted to go into a room and cry because he’d lost his mother. And I just remember hiding behind my fringe, basically, at the time I had a lot of hair and my head’s down a lot, so I was hiding behind my fringe. It was kind of like a little tiny bit of safety blanket, if you like, I know that sounds ridiculous, but at the time I felt if I looked at the floor and my hair came down over my face no one could see me. It sounds ridiculous now, but at the time it was important for me to get through the day.”
    Harry on the actual walk: “And hearing people screaming in the crowds, I think the broadcast news even today still talks about the silence and of course there was a huge amount of silence, but what I remember is every fifty yards or whatever certain people in the crowd just unable to contain their emotion. That was a big thing.”
    William on the walk, continued: “Very alien environment. I couldn’t understand why everyone wanted to cry as loud as they did and show such emotion as they did, when they didn’t really know our mother. I did feel a bit protective at times — I thought you didn’t even know her, why and how are you so upset? Now, looking back, over the last years, I’ve learned to understand what it was that she gave the world, what she gave a lot of people. Back in the ’90s there weren’t many other public figures doing what she did, so she was this ray of light in a fairly gray world.”
    Harry on the walk, continued: “To this day I still can’t remember how I was thinking, I was just like so focused on getting it done and doing everything that was asked of me there and then and making sure that I did my mother proud.”
    William on the duty of walking behind the coffin: “Both our parents brought us up to understand that, as best we can, that there is this element of duty, and responsibility that you have to do things you don’t want to do. When it becomes that personal, walking behind your mother’s funeral cortege, it goes to another level of duty. But I just kept thinking about what she would want and that she’d be proud of Harry and I being able to go through with it, and effectively she was there with us. It felt like she was walking along beside us to get us through it.”
    Harry on Elton John’s song at the funeral: “When the shutters came down and I refused to let myself get sad about the fact that my mother had died, there were certain things that was like someone firing an arrow into that barrier and the head of it getting through, and Elton John’s song was incredibly emotional. That was part of this whole trigger system which nearly brought me to the point of crying in public which I’m glad I didn’t do.”
    Harry’s closing statement: “When you’re that young and something like that happens to you, I think it’s lodged in your heart and your head and it stays there for a very, very long time. Years after, I spent a long time of my life with my head buried in the sand thinking, ‘I don’t want to be Prince Harry, I don’t want this responsibility, I don’t want this role, look what’s happened to my mother, why does this have to happen to me?’ But now all I want to do is try and fill the holes that my mother has left. That’s what it’s about for us is trying to make a difference, and in making a difference making her proud. She was the Princess of Wales and she stood for so many things but deep down inside she was a mother and we will miss our mother and wonder every single day what it would be like having her around.”
    William’s closing statement: “When you have something so traumatic as the death of your mother when you’re fifteen it’ll either make or break you. And I wouldn’t let it break me. I wanted it to make me. I wanted her to be proud of the person I would become. I didn’t want her worried, or her legacy to be that William and or Harry were completely and utterly devastated by it. She loved Harry and I dearly, even so that now I can sit here after twenty years and I still feel that love, still feel that warmth twenty years on, which is a huge testament to her. If I can be even a fraction of what she was I’ll be proud, and I’ll hopefully make her proud in what I’ve done.”

If you haven’t seen the documentary, you can watch it online at NBC – I know it is available in the US, but I do not know if it is available outside of the US.

So Harry doesn’t have an opinion on a child having to walk behind their parents’ coffin in such a public way and is glad that he was a part of it, but doesn’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances, and that it would not happen today. Okay.

That stupid contradiction aside, I thought William’s and Harry’s interviews were quite telling in that their thoughts about these topics provide more explanation for why they act the way they act now. I think it would be fascinating to actually sit down with either and have an in-depth conversation about these things.

Kate has an engagement today, which I will cover tomorrow. There is also an embargoed engagement on Tuesday, and George starts school on Thursday. So busy week in royal watching land.

UPDATE: KP announced Kate is pregnant again, so her engagement for today has been canceled. I suspect that any involvement from Kate for tomorrow’s engagement will also be canceled, and she probably won’t show up to take George to school on Thursday either.

32 thoughts on “William & Harry discuss Diana & Charles in ‘Diana, 7 Days’

  1. I think the way the public reacted was macabre I think the reason the boys where made to walk was because the public attuide towards the royals was dire there was talk of the monarchy ending. I always thought the irony of the public blaming the press at the time was strange as they were the ones buying the newspapers upping the pictures value when the media realised they were going to be criticized they went after the royals to deflect the anger altough h and w said now they understand the public’s reaction was because they loved their mother I think they are still bitter about it

  2. I find it hard to believe that it was the press that caused Diana to cry more than her husband cheating on her and still being in love with someone else and all the other personal issues. Sure the paparazzi were bad, but it serves their anti press narrative to pretend that the press is what caused Diana the most pain.

    The monarchy still exists because of the public’s desire to keep them in that place and while I sympathize with teen boys trying to deal with the sudden death of their mother in a public setting, if they shut out the public completely, then the public will want to push them out. Queen Victoria stirred up republicanism due to her excessive mourning of Prince Albert and the monarchy is in a more precarious position now than in the 1860s.
    Now that they are adults they need to accept the price that comes with their extreme privilege. If they cannot, well there are plenty of others who can step in and take their place.

    1. I agree–I don’t think it was the press that caused most of Diana’s tears.

      What was Diana going to do, explain to her boys that mummy is crying because her lover isn’t available, their father is with his mistress, Fergie’s getting all the praise, the police have traced crank calls back to her, etc.? Much simpler every time just to blame mummy’s tears all on the press. The boys had witnessed episodes of the press’s bad behavior, so easy for them to believe it happened over and over and over again .

      This interview, I think, shows that they still believe that. That the press was the source of her day-to-day pain and the cause of her death. To not believe it would be to accept that their mother had some enormous flaws and faults, that she was responsible for much of her situation, and they don’t seem willing or able to do that.

      They still have a lot of issues to sort out.

      1. The interview is very revealing about what William and Harry still think about everything that happened, and how those thoughts have influenced how they behave now. I think they haven’t truly examined, in an unbiased way, those events, but I at least understand how their opinions on those event have influenced their choices now.

    2. I would guess Diana told her children she was crying about the press, even when she might have been crying about Charles, purely because you don’t share that kind of thing with a child – easier to tell an untruth (one easily believable to them), than the painful reality of their father hurting their mother.

  3. I helped my son move house this weekend. Amazing what you find in cupboards that you had forgotten about. I hope Kate has taken the opportunity to go through her wardrobes and rediscover some of her beautiful clothes for early marriage days and her tours, and finds that there are many , many items that can be reworn or re engineered. We really don’t need another new outfit.

    1. You get a Gold Star for doing that move Birdy!

      Hope there was nothing scary in those cupboards? But did you find anything that you were missing at home? Like a casserole dish or 2.

      As for Kate’s wardrobes, she can’t just be filling them up and forgetting what’s there? Or can she just not stop shopping? Hopefully she will be busier now George has to be taken to school, oh…. And Women’s Day say this week that Kate is a couple of months pregnant so she will have no time to shop if she has HG?

  4. It took me 2 goes to watch this programme as it made me queasy in places. Personally I feel the only people who had a right to comment were William and Harry, and perhaps Charles? To see Tony Blair talking about Diana made me sick, he was elected 4 months before she died and IMO he used her death as a way of making himself more popular. That speech outside the church was political spin at his very best. Then the way he inserted hhimself into the situation, like he was going to save the monarchy? Tony Blair was whipping up the crowd just as much as the newspapers. I feel the Princes needed as much time as possible to grieve in private and think it was horrible to force them out. And of course we got to see Paul Burrell, yet again, saying he was the only person who loved Diana etc.

    I can believe that the paparazzi made Diana cry, I’ve seen some in action and it ain’t pretty.

    One last thought, why didn’t at least one photographer at the scene of the crash put down their camera and hold Diana’s hand or comfort her? She was trapped and possibly dieing even then, itwwould have made her last moments easier for her surely?

      1. I have not seen that reported Ellie, but crash vicitims are often confused so the kind thing would have been to still comfort her, and to tell the photographers taking photos to back off and to put their cameras away.

    1. When Harry said they. Took pictures of his mother dying, that really made me angry and sad. Diana didnt deserve. That. I had to stop watching

    2. Tony Blair was the Prime Minister and concerned about the public’s strong and unprecedented reaction to Diana’s death. He was stopped by the press outside church and he was right to give a statement. Whatever you think of him, he was the PM during a turbulent time. It is entirely possible that things could have become very unstable. It was his job to “insert himself”.

  5. It’s interesting to me how William sees it as the evil mean bad press making his mum cry, when she used him as her emotional rock and it was incredibly damaging to young boy. A little boy!!!! And honestly, Diana promoted a lot of this press stuff and called them so her crying wolf TO HER CHILD just is appalling to me. No, the way they treated her was not okay, is never okay, but I know she called them and encouraged them to take pictures of her to make sure she was in the media.

    Add in his already massive ego, attitude, and such, no wonder he has turned out the way he has. He is an incredibly damaged man and it is very sad. But he is 35 and has to get over that.

    It explains a lot of why they are the way they are. Secretive and paranoid because they genuinely feel THE MEDIA–not just the paparazzi–killed his mother. When everyone was drunk, speeding, and no seatbelts. A tragedy all around.

    Harry needs to stop contradicting himself. I wonder if it is because that Newsweek was fro an American publication where he and William are as gods because of their mother; and this was for originally, what, ITV or BBC? It is so sad they were used not by the RF but by the Government in a way to walk behind the coffin though I am glad Philip and Charles went with them. I think the Queen did the right thing keeping them ensconced in the family bubble of love and warmth. Nobody expected such hysteria especially having read loads recently about how demonized Diana was in the public before hand for her spending, her attention-getting ways, her affairs, her traveling… The public’s hysterical grief was really insane and I am sure was not touching but damaging to W&H. THEY lost their mother; the public lost nobody close to them. Like William said: I lost my mum, they lost nothing, why are they acting like this, I should be able to grieve.

    I do not think they were ever able to grieve properly, and it is sad.

    1. Just me: I was a royal collector at one time in my life, and I remember princess Diana. I have the video of her funeral and never was able to watch it. I also can somewhat understand how the princess feel. — There not the only ones who lost a Mother, there are so many people that have lost loved ones and the pain is the same if not worst, it’s time to stop using her for there pity party and move on.

    2. From a somewhat faded memory, my thoughts at the time were that the growing floral tribute became almost a sport to see how long this could go on for. It and the emotional outpouring was bizarre and became almost an end unto itself. The reporting at the time framed it in such terms. A spectacle created by the public, inserting themselves into the death.

      I caught Harry’s contradiction of himself. It made me wonder what is real and what is manufactured if his feelings towards this intensely personal matter are so divergent.

      I also wondered about William: wasn’t it mooted that he had had a terrible fight on the phone with Diana? He was not happy about her running around with Dodi? But his take on the last phone call – if true – erases that, though one can appreciate why. The guilt would be tremendous.

        1. KMR – KP announced. She’s pregnant.

          “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child.”

          She has HG (cough cough yeah right) and is canceling all engagements.

          1. I expected this considering Philip is retired now and it’s a get out of work card.

            Am I just that cynical?

            As someone who was violently ill throughout my pregnancy, I really never buy it with her.

    1. 3 2 1 . . . umm – didn’t sleep well in new home, George needs another “hat, shoes, shorts, gym gear”, new Kikkis for school run, Charlotte needs new ballet shoes (as she is now the UK leading dancer) . . . or “hair appointment”

  6. Of course she’s pregnant. Just when Phillip retires and she’s expected to step up, she needed another reason to do as little as possible for another 1.5-2 years.

  7. I gained a different perspective during the viewing of this documentary. It was well done although having Paul Burcell on bothered me some. Hearing William and Harry thoughts and feelings….at so young their ages vs the media intrusion no wonder they are messed up. They needed therapy back then….during their parents separation stuff and definitely after their Mum’s death. Sounds like Harry might have had a few yrs ago. They still need more therapy.

  8. I think it’s interesting that William still clearly views the press for the reason of her death and not that of a drunk driver and her not wearing a seat belt. I guess no one wants to blame their parent for not doing the right thing.
    I didn’t watch this but thanks for the snippet.

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