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Princess Diana’s sons have revealed how their last conversation with their mum on they day she died still haunts them to this day.
Princes William and Harry had a hurried chat on the phone from Paris hours before she was killed in a car crash in the Alma Tunnel in 1997.
William admitted that that conversation now weighs “heavily” on his mind, but he refused to say what they discussed.
In the ITV film about Diana, Princess of Wales, to be aired on Monday night at 9pm, William and Harry speak of their grief as never before.
They reveal on camera the anguish they feel about losing their mother at the age of 36 – when they were just 15 and 12 respectively.
Clearly emotional Harry admits in moving testimony that not speaking to his mum longer is something he will regret “for the rest of my life”.
But looking back at the life of the princess, whose death nearly 20 years ago shocked the world, Harry said “to myself and William she was just the best mother ever” who “brought a breath of fresh air to everything she did”.
The new documentary that William claims will be the last word on his mum – entitled Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy – chronicles Diana’s personal journey, her campaigns supporting the homeless, Aids victims, and banning landmines, and her death.
Remarkably Prince Harry, who was deeply scared by his mum’s death and sought professional help to cope with his anger – says he has only cried twice for his mother – once at her funeral and during an undisclosed occasion.
Down the years: Princess Diana and her two sons
On the day she was killed William told of the “very good time” they were having at Balmoral, the Queen’s private Scottish home, where the royal brothers were playing with their cousins.
Future King William, interviewed with his brother at Kensington Palace said: “Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know ‘see you later’… if I’d known now obviously what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been so blase about it and everything else.
“But that phone call sticks in my mind, quite heavily.”
Asked if he remembered what his mother said he replies “I do” but does not divulge the conversation.
Harry described how it was his turn to chat to mum after his brother: “It was her speaking from Paris, I can’t really necessarily remember what I said but all I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was.
“Looking back on it now it’s incredibly hard, I’ll have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life. Not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak to my mum, how differently that conversation would have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling her life was going to be taken that night.”
On Diana’s birthday – July 1 – William, Kate and Harry, joined by Prince George and Princess Charlotte, attended a service to re-dedicate her grave at Althorp house, where she was buried on an island.
Harry said: “The first time I cried was at the funeral on the island and probably only since then maybe once. So there’s a lot of grief that still needs to be let out.”
Diana’s marriage break-up was a major turning point in her life and the princess’s close friend Harry Herbert talked to the Queen about her emotional state following a Balmoral lunch, because the monarch “was so worried about Diana”.
He said: “The Queen wanted to know how was Diana feeling and was it as bad as it was, and it was a sad discussion, a sad moment really – that was everything at its worst.”
The documentary, which is screened on Monday, went on to feature the moment when, on December 9, 1992, the then Prime Minister John Major announced to the Commons the couple had agreed to separate.
Unseen family photos of the royal brothers taken by their mother are shown in the programme with William and Harry seen trawling through the albums compiled by Diana.
In lighter moments the princess’s sons talk about her sense of humour with Harry saying: “Our mother was a total kid through and through, when everybody says to me ‘so she was fun, give us an example’ all I can hear is her laugh in my head…”
Reflecting on the 20 years since his mother’s death, Harry said: “It has been hard and it will continue to be hard, there’s not a day William and I don’t wish that she was still around and we wonder what kind of mother she would be now, and what kind of a public role she would have and what a difference she would be making.”
Diana never saw her work to help outlaw landmines come to fruition as she died before the international treaty to ban the military weapons was signed.
But Harry described how he found letters on the subject dated the day of her death, but never sent: “About a month ago I found a whole series of letters. Letters that she was supposed to top and tail that were dated 31 August that were sitting on her desk here.
“She knew exactly what needed to be done, she was writing letters to certain people to say ‘right, this is what needs to happen in order for this whole tidal wave to change”.
- The documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy will be screened on ITV on Monday at 9pm.
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