Everything William and Harry have said about Princess Diana's death as The Crown portrays her final moments

Prince William and Prince Harry with their mother at Thorpe Park in 1993, four years before Princess Diana's death. (Getty Images)
Prince William and Prince Harry with their mother at Thorpe Park in 1993, four years before Princess Diana's death. (Getty Images)

The first instalment of the sixth and final season of The Crown is here, and it features Princess Diana’s death.

The 36-year-old royal died on 31 August 1997 in a high-speed car crash in Paris after she was chased by the paparazzi.

Her sons, Prince William, now 41, and Prince Harry, 39, were just 15 and 12 years old respectively at the time.

Images of the brothers walking behind their mother’s casket are ingrained into most of our memories - but what have William and Harry said about their mother’s death since?

From their thoughts on walking behind Diana’s coffin, to their reaction to her death, here’s everything the pair has said.

On walking behind Diana’s coffin

"My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television," Prince Harry told Newsweek in 2017. "I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today."

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales follow the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
The late Prince Philip, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and King Charles follow the coffin of Diana in September 1997. (Getty Images)

Harry further opened up about the effect this moment had on his mental health, telling Oprah Winfrey in 2021: "When my mum was taken away from me at the age of 12, just before my 13th birthday, I didn’t want [that] life. Sharing the grief of my mother’s death with the world…

"It was like I was outside of my body and just walking along, doing what was expected of me, showing one-tenth of the emotion everybody else was showing."

Prince William told the BBC that the decision for him and Harry to walk behind the casket was one made collectively by the family.

"It wasn’t an easy decision and it was a sort of collective family decision to do that. There is that balance between duty and family and that’s what we had to do," he said.

"[I had to] between me being Prince William and having to do my bit, versus the private William who just wanted to go into a room and cry, who’d lost his mother."

Harry’s last phone call with Diana

During the 2017 HBO documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, Harry said that the last time he spoke to his mother was during one of her nightly phone calls, which were a regular occurrence after she and King Charles III split.

"I can’t really, necessarily, remember what I said," Harry recalled. "But all I do remember is probably, you know, regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was. And if I’d known that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother - the things I would have said to her. All I remember regretting for the rest of my life how short that phone call was."

The moment they found out Diana had died

"There’s nothing like it in the world," William said in the HBO documentary. "There really isn’t. It’s like an earthquake has just run through the house and through your life and everything. Your mind is completely split. And it took me a while for it to actually sink in."

TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 18:  Diana, Princess Of Wales With Her Sons, William And Harry In The Grounds Of Highgrove In Tetbry, Gloucestershire  (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Diana with Harry and William in 1985. (Getty Images)

Later, in Prince Harry’s 2023 memoir Spare, he wrote of the moment his father told him of Diana’s death: "Pa didn't hug me. He wasn't great at showing emotions under normal circumstances. But his hand did fall once more on my knee and he said, 'It's going to be OK.' But after that, nothing was OK for a long time."

A message being passed on from beyond the grave

In Spare, Harry wrote about seeking help from a woman with 'powers' to help ease the sadness of Diana’s death.

He says that the psychic told him: "You’re living the life she couldn’t. You’re living the life she wanted for you."

On not understanding the mass grief from the public

"It was very, very strange after her death, you know, the sort of outpouring of love and emotion from so many people that had never even met her," Harry said in the HBO documentary. "... And I was thinking to myself, how is it that so many people that never even met this woman, my mother, can be crying and showing more emotion than I actually am feeling?"

Harry has only cried twice since Diana’s death

Diana was buried in the middle of an island on her family’s home, Althorpe Estate, which is where her funeral was held.

In the HBO documentary, Harry revealed: "The first time I cried was at the funeral on the island…and only since then, maybe once. So, you know, there’s a lot of grief that still needs to be let out."

Prince William with Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Harry on the day he joined Eton in September 1995. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage)
Prince William with Diana and Prince Harry on the day he joined Eton in September 1995. (Getty Images)

On the process of grief

"[You have to] slowly, you try and rebuild your life, and you try and understand what’s happened, and I kept saying to myself that, you know, my mother would not want me to be upset," the Prince of Wales said in the 2017 documentary.

"She’d not want me to be down. She’d not want me to be like this. I kept myself busy as well - which is good and bad sometimes - but allows you to kind of get through that initial shock phase."

Watch: The Crown risks royal anger with Princess Diana landmine wedding comment

Harry convinced himself Diana had faked her death

In Spare, Harry wrote that in the process of grief he convinced himself that his mother had faked her death and was living in the Swiss Alps.

"She's been very unhappy," he wrote that he told himself. "She's been harassed, lied to, and lied about her. So she's faked this accident as a move to make them get away from her."

The effect of Diana’s death on Harry’s work and personal life

In an interview with the Telegraph in 2017, Harry detailed the long-term effects his mum’s death had on his life.

"I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of twelve, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last twenty years, had had a quite serious effect not only on my personal life, but also my work as well," he explained.

"I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions, when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming at you from every angle."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (left) and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrive for the unveiling of a statue they commissioned of their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday on July 1, 2021 in London, England. Today would have been the 60th birthday of Princess Diana, who died in 1997. At a ceremony here today, her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex respectively, will unveil a statue in her memory. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William and Prince Harry in 2021 unveiling the statue of their mother at Kensington Palace on what would have been her 60th birthday. (Getty Images)

Diana’s presence is ‘constant’

In 2022 Harry told the TODAY show that his mother’s presence had been felt more keenly since the birth of his two kids, Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2.

"For me, [her presence is] constant,” Harry said. “It has been over the last two years - more so than ever before."

The Crown: Read more