Prince William’s milestone birthday year marks poignant anniversary too

Prince William celebrates his fortieth birthday in a year that marks an important emotional milestone for the future king, the 25th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

William was just fifteen years old when his mother died in a tragic high-speed car accident in Paris’s Pont de l’Alma tunnel on August 31, 1997.

When news of the princess’s accident and subsequent death broke, William was staying with his father and brother for the summer break at their Balmoral estate in Scotland as guests of the Queen.

Following mounting pressure from the public and the press, the Queen agreed that the royal family would leave Scotland and travel to London to see the wreath, hold a televised address and attend Diana’s ceremonial funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Prince William’s fortieth birthday falls in the same year as the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana in a Paris car accident. Photographed on May 12, 2022. Diana (inset) photographed on November 24, 1995.
Jen Barlow / WPA Pool / Getty Images / Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The prince has since described the year as one of the most difficult in his life and during the two biggest anniversaries since his death, the tenth anniversary in 2007 and the twentieth anniversary in 2017, of his mother and her legacy. openly talked about.

in an interview with GQ Magazine In 2017, William opened up about the level of grief he experienced at the time of his mother’s death and how the global nature of her death affected him.

“I’m in a better place than I’ve been about this in a long time, where I can talk about her more openly, talk about her more honestly, and I can remember her better, and in public.” I can talk better about that,” he said. ,

“I still find it difficult because it was so raw at the time. And it also doesn’t sound like most people’s sadness, because everyone else knows about it, everybody knows the story, everybody knows it.”

In the same interview, the prince also recalled the level of emotion he felt on the day of his funeral as he walked from The Mall to Westminster Abbey behind his mother’s coffin. The young royal was reportedly hesitant to make such a public appearance, but was convinced to do so alongside her grandfather, Prince Philip.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” he said.

“But what would it look like if I was in a flood of tears all the way? … There was a lot of noise, there was a lot of crying, there was a lot of crying, people were throwing things, people were fainting.. .It was a very unusual The experience was there. It was something that I don’t think anyone could have predicted. Looking back, the sadness and the outpouring of emotions was very touching but it was very strange to be in that situation.”

Princess Diana Funeral Procession Prince William
Prince William, 15, walks behind his mother’s coffin from St James’s Palace to Westminster Abbey with his father, brother, grandfather and uncle. 6 September 1997.
Jeff J. Michelle / AFP via Getty Images

In recent years the royal has been more open about the effect it has had on her mental health that her mother died at such a young age and that has included her brother Harry.

As the two princes start their own families, they talk about ways to try to keep Diana’s memory alive so that their children can get to know their grandmother through them.

Title in a 2017 documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and LegacyWilliam Said How He Wanted His Children To “Know Who” [Diana] and she existed,” he said, adding that he constantly talks about “Grandma Diana.”

“It’s hard because clearly Katherine didn’t know her so she can’t really provide that level of detail, so I regularly put George and Charlotte to bed, talk about her and just tell them I try to remind myself that there are two grandmothers, there were two grandmothers in her life,” he said.

“So it’s important that they know who she was and that she existed.”

To mark Mother’s Day in 2021, William and Kate shared photos of a card the Cambridge children made for Diana, with Princess Charlotte writing: “Dear Grandma Diana, I’m thinking of you on Mother’s Day I love you so much. So much. Papa is missing you. Lots of love, Charlotte.”

Both William and Harry marked a long-standing ambition to open a permanent memorial to their mother in London in 2021.

In a 2016 interview Greetings!Harry said, “Something needs to be placed in stone or place as a memory. A lot of people still talk about that. Every single day we still think of that.”

Princess William And Harry Unveil A Statue Of Diana
Prince William and Prince Harry reunite for the unveiling of a statue honoring Princess Diana in the gardens of their former home, Kensington Palace. 1 July 2021.
Dominic Lipinski / WPA Pool / Getty Images

On July 1, 2021, what would have been Diana’s sixtieth birthday, the royal brothers reunited after a turbulent period in which Harry stepped down from royal duties to unveil a statue of his mother on the grounds of his former home in the US. Kensington Palace.

In a joint statement the princes said:

“Today, on what would have been our mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force to be reckoned with across the world, changing countless lives for the better.

“Every day, we wish she was still with us, and our hope is that this statue will always be seen as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”

While there are no formal public plans to mark the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death, the princess is remembered as her eldest son celebrates his milestone fortieth birthday.

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