Prince William recalls "dark days of grief" after death of Princess Diana

·3-min read
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images
Photo credit: Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

The Duke of Cambridge has recalled "the dark days of grief" following the death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997.

Prince William remembered the day he was told Diana had died while giving a speech at the Opening Ceremony of the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland on Saturday (May 22nd). He spoke about how the country holds so many happy memories for him, but also some of his "saddest".

"Scotland is the source of some of my happiest memories. But also, my saddest," the royal said as part of his role as Lord High Commissioner.

"I was in Balmoral when I was told that my mother had died. Still in shock, I found sanctuary in the service at Crathie Kirk that very morning. And in the dark days of grief that followed, I found comfort and solace in the Scottish outdoors. As a result, the connection I feel to Scotland will forever run deep."

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Prince William's remarks come following his harsh criticism of the BBC after an independent inquiry found that Martin Bashir acted in a "deceitful" way and faked documents to obtain his panorama interview with Princess Diana back in 1995. He commissioned fake bank statements to secure the exclusive – a "serious breach" of the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

The duke called the interview with their mother "deceitful" and said it "ultimately took her life".

In a video statement, William said it was "major contribution to making my parents' relationship worse", adding it has "since hurt countless others".

Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive
Photo credit: Princess Diana Archive

"It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her," he said. "But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived."

"Without justification, the BBC fell short of the high standards of integrity and transparency which are its hallmark," the report said.

Prince Harry added: "The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life." He added that the "unethical practices" adopted by the BBC to obtain the interview are still widespread and go beyond just one publication.

"Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed," he concluded. "By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone, and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for."

Ex-BBC director general Tony Hall announced his resignation from his position as chair of the National Gallery in the wake of the investigation over his role in the Diana interview scandal.

"I have today resigned as chair of the National Gallery,” Hall said in a statement on Saturday. “I have always had a strong sense of public service and it is clear my continuing in the role would be a distraction to an institution I care deeply about."

"As I said two days ago, I am very sorry for the events of 25 years ago and I believe leadership means taking responsibility."

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