It may be 22 years since we lost Princess Diana but time hasn’t exactly healed all of Prince Harry’s wounds. Recently, the Duke of Essex opened up during the ITV documentary, Harry and Meghan: An African Journey about how he felt after the death of his mother Princess Diana. He was a mere 12 years old when he had to hear the news that he would not see his mother ever again and more than two decades later, he still feels the pain from her sudden death. When asked if he feels more at peace now by interviewer Tom Bradby, he replied, “It’s a wound that festers.”
During the documentary, he and wife Meghan Markle also happened to highlight the pressures they faced from being in the spotlight — something that the Princess of Wales constantly tried to protect Prince Harry from. This was confirmed in royal biographer, Angela Levin’s 2019 biography, Harry: Conversations with the Prince which emphasized the prince’s view of his mother.
“He told me that the most important thing she ever did for him was ‘keep me safe’,” she explained, according to Express UK. “It was one of many poignant moments during our conversation. This one goes straight to the heart of every child, rich or poor. Children need parents who make them feel safe and give them the right environment in which to grow and flourish. They also need to feel they are accepted and loved for who they are.”
Continuing, she wrote, “Without his mother, who died when he was twelve years old, Harry has had a really tough time. Her death changed Harry from being an adorable mischievous boy who was beginning to comprehend what it meant to be third in line to the throne and forever one large step behind his big brother, into a willful impulsive preteen who, as he grew, behaved badly, rarely handed in his schoolwork on time, drank and smoked too much, and connected with too many unsuitable girls.”
Considering that the 35-year-old prince was closer to his mother, it comes as no surprise that her death hit him harder. Though Princess Diana was incredibly loving towards both her children, who “smothered us with love” according to Prince Harry in a documentary released two years ago, it was him that she was more attached to.
Diana’s close friend Richard Kay also revealed in the Daily Mail in 2018, “She adored them both but William, destined to be King, was marked from birth for special attention.” He claimed that “Diana poured more love and attention into Harry” to “compensate” for any preferential treatment potentially given to her eldest, who was to be king.
So when she died, it was almost as if his world came crashing down. And now, 22 years later, he fears the cycle repeating itself as he finds Meghan, with whom he shares son, Archie, at the receiving end of extreme scrutiny from the media, just the way his mother was — something that is speculated to have caused the car crash that took her life.
In another documentary titled, Diana: Our Mother, Her Life and Legacy, he said, “I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I hear a camera. Every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash it takes me straight back. So in that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to her best.”
According to Vanity Fair, a source spoke about the case that the royals of Essex had filed against British tabloids. “Whether they win or lose the case, Harry’s intent on paying the press back for what they did to his mother, the endless scrutiny into his private life, and now their vendetta against Meghan. This is payback time, as far as Harry is concerned,” they said.