The world mourned the loss of Princess Diana in 1997, but no one more than her children, Prince Harry and Prince William. The former has spoken up about his mom often throughout the years (and recently in the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan), and he is sharing more details about what it was like to lose her at just 12 years old — and the one major way he wants life for his kids to be different.
In an interview with ITV on Sunday, the Duke of Sussex shared, “I never want to be in that position” as his dad, King Charles, was in the wake of Princess Diana’s death, per The Independent. Prince Harry, who is dad to Archie Harrison, 3, and Lilibet Diana, 1, with wife Meghan Markle, explained that the decision to step down as senior members of the royal family in March 2020 had everything to with protecting his family.
“I don’t want history to repeat itself,” Prince Harry said in the interview. “I do not want to be a single dad. And I certainly don’t want my children to have a life without a mother or a father.”
What a heartbreaking revelation. Prince Harry knows how hard it was to grow up without a beloved parent, so he is prioritizing making sure his kids don’t have to go through that, too.
In his book Spare, which debuts tomorrow, Prince Harry revealed that he held the heartbreaking hope that his mom faked her own death. “Her life’s been miserable, she’s been hounded, harassed, lied about, lied to. So she’s staged an accident as a diversion and run away,” he recalls thinking, per Page Six.
Ultimately, Prince Harry and Prince William went to France to drive down the tunnel where Princess Diana was killed to get closure. “We zipped ahead, went over the lip at the tunnel’s entrance, the bump that supposedly sent Mummy’s Mercedes veering off course but the lip was nothing,” Harry recalled, per Us Weekly. “We barely felt it.”
In the end, they found the painful closure they were looking for.
“‘She’s dead,’ I thought. My God, she’s really gone for good. I got the closure I was pretending to seek. I got it in spades. And now I’d never be able to get rid of it,” he said, per Us Weekly.
That heartbreak translated to him realizing he wants his kids to grow up with both parents — without the stress and mental health toll from being active members of the royal family.
Becoming a parent has heightened Prince Harry’s protective side, and it’s also made him feel his mom’s presence more. In an interview with Today in April 2022, he revealed that he teaches his kids about “Grandma Diana” in photos around the house.
“I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now. But definitely more so in the last two years than ever before, without question. She’s watching over us,” he said. And he’s watching over his own kids, too.
Before you go, check out Prince Harry’s very best dad moments — so far!