In life, Princess Diana was a beacon of hope. In her death, she continues to be a light that lives on in her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.
In a series of intimate and moving interviews, the royals are sharing stunning details about the woman behind "The People's Princess" in a new documentary: Diana Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. The unprecedented access to the boys' hearts and memories is summed up by Prince William perfectly: "Her 20th anniversary year feels like a good time to remember all the good things about her and hopefully provide maybe a different side others haven’t seen before."
Check out these Princess Di facts you probably never knew.
Here, we look back at the most powerful moments from the documentary.
The boys shared raw insight into Diana as parent. William mused, "She always understood there was a real life outside of palace walls."
Meanwhile, Harry still holds the same feelings he had when he last saw his mother, at the age of 12. "She was our mum, she still is our mum, you know, and of course as a son, I would say she is the best mum in the world."
Now 32, he reflected, "Our mother was a total kid through and through. She was one of the naughtiest parents."
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And it's clear she worked hard to give her boys the best, and even more importantly, a grounded childhood. "My mother cherished those moments of privacy and being able to be that mother rather than the Princess of Wales," Meghan Markle's beau said. "She made the decision that no matter what, despite all the difficulties of growing up in that limelight and on that stage, she was going to ensure that both of us had as normal life as possible."
"And if that means taking us for a burger every now and then or sneaking us into the cinema, or driving through the country lanes with the roof down in her old school BMW to listen to Enya, I think it was...part of her being a mom," Harry continued.
And it's not just the boys who knew how good Diana was as a parent. Her dear friend, Harry Herbert, mused, "Through all the difficulty of other stuff at the time, you could see the most important thing in her life were her boys."
The Princess of Wales passed away in a car accident in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997. Speaking of the final chat he had with his mom, William remarked, "If I'd known now, obviously, what was going to happen, I wouldn't have been so blasé about it and everything else. But that phone call sticks in my mind quite heavily."
Harry confessed, "Looking back on it now, it's incredibly hard. I have to sort of deal with that for the rest my life — not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak with my mum and how differently that conversation would have panned out if I had even the slightest inkling that her life was going to be taken that night."
Charles and Diana's separation and divorce created an international media storm. In late 1992, the couple was plagued with talks of affairs. By the end of 1995, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen had written separate letters to the couple ordering them to divorce.
"After considering the present situation, the Queen wrote to both the prince and princess earlier this week and gave them her view, supported by the Duke of Edinburgh, that an early divorce is desirable," a palace statement said.
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It added that both Elizabeth and Philip would "continue to do all they [could] to help and support the Prince and Princess of Wales, and most particularly their children, in this difficult period." The divorce was finalized in August 1996.
Without speaking about their parents' marital issues, Harry shared, "There was all of that to contend with. It was an interesting way of growing up. The two of us were bouncing between the two of them. We never saw our mother enough. We never saw our father enough."
Following her passing, William said, "There's nothing like it in the world, there really isn't. It's like an earthquake [has] just run through the house and throughout your life and everything. Your mind is completely split. It took me a while for it to actually sink in."
As for Harry, he said in the film, "The first time I cried was at the funeral on the island, and since then, maybe just once. So there is a lot of grief that needs to be let out. I was so young — I grew up sort of thinking not having a mom was normal. I think it was a classic case of, 'Don't let yourself think about your mom and the grief and the hurt that comes with it. Because it's never going to bring her back, and it's only going to make you more sad.'"
Prince Harry quipped, "Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs she used to give us. And you know I miss that; I miss that feeling; I miss that part of a family; I miss having that mother to be able give you that hug and that compassion that everybody needs."
Before her death, Diana met with land mine victims, Zarko Peric and Malic Bradaric, during a mission to Bosnia. When she said goodbye to the two boys, the proud mom was on her way home to be with her sons, who were with Charles in Edinburgh.
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Noting the strangeness of this timeline, Harry told Zarko and Malic upon meeting them, “Well, you saw my mother more recently than I did, I guess.”
It is one of Prince William's most treasured memories. And for the future king, his mom wasn't too far from his mind when he married Kate in 2011.
"When it came to the wedding, I did really feel that she was there," he said. "There are times when you look to someone or something for strength, and I very much felt she was there for me."
And she undoubtedly will have a presence in her grandkids' lives.
"I think [I'm] constantly talking about Granny Diana," the royal dad shared. "We've got more photos up around the house now of her. It's hard because Catherine didn't know her, so she can't really provide that level of detail. I do regularly bring George and Charlotte to bed and talk about her. [I] just try to remind them there are two grandmas — were two grandmas — in their lives, and it's important they know who she was and she existed."
And William is under the impression Di would have been exceptionally cheeky in her role of "Granny."
"She'd be a nightmare grandma, absolute nightmare," he shared. "She'd love the children to bits, but she'd be an absolute nightmare. She'd come and go. She'd probably come at bath time, cause an amazing amount of sea and bubbles and bathwater all over the place, and then leave."
Prince Charles infamously took away Diana's title of "Her Royal Highness," but she was still "The People's Princess." One of her dear friends, Sir Elton John reflected on her humanitarian work.
Speaking of her smashing barriers for people suffering from AIDS, he said, "She had that incredible ability, which [Harry] kind of inherited, to make people feel at ease and make them feel that everything's going to be all right. I haven't experienced many people in my life who have that ability, but she could walk into a room of people and make them feel as if everything was great."
"It was considered to be a gay disease," he continued. "For someone who was within the royal family and who was a woman, and who was straight — to have someone care from the other side, was an incredible gift."
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William poignantly summed what it's like being the son of Diana, Princess of Wales.
“I give thanks that I was lucky enough to be her son and know her for the 15 years that I did. She set us up really well. She gave us the right tools, and has prepared us well for life, not obviously knowing what was going to happen.”
As for Harry, he left us with this note, "She smothered us with love, that’s for sure. There’s not a day that William and I don’t wish...that she was still around. And we wonder what kind of a mother she would be now, and what kind of a public role she would have, and what a difference she would be making.”
This post was written by Chloe Lal. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.
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