Kate Beckinsale understands Prince Harry and Prince William's childhood grief since she also lost a parent at a very young age. Beckinsale's father, actor Richard Beckinsale, died from a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease in 1979 when he was only 31. The Underworld star was only 5 years old at the time. Harry was 12 and William was 15 when their mother, Princess Diana, died at age 36 in Paris in 1997.
During the latest episode of Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast, Beckinsale, 47, told The Ranch star she instantly related to William and Harry when she learned Diana died. "I remember when their mother died, I was in New York and seeing them in the context of other people sort of grieving for somebody they didn't know... I thought, 'Oh my God, I really know what that feels like,'" Beckinsale recalled. "When there's a cataclysmic event, it puts everything into a real sharp focus."
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Beckinsale also understood a unique aspect of William and Harry's grief. Like Diana, Beckinsale's father was a celebrity whose death was mourned by strangers. She called this "quite weird," adding that it was "hard" at the beginning because it felt like "you were having this very personal, horrible crisis — and so was everybody else, but you didn't know them."
"People would talk about how terrible they felt that they had lost him, but then say, 'Oh, but you probably don't remember anything, do you, because you were a child.' That would really upset me as a child. I found that really difficult," Beckinsale told Shepard, PEOPLE reports. "But then the person you're sharing it with is saying, 'You have less right to this than I do,' which is really odd. I found that, as I'm older, I'm less offended by it. There is something incredibly special and comforting about how much other people loved him, that, sort of the longer it goes on, [it's] lovely."
Richard Beckinsale was a popular British television star throughout the 1970s. His first starring role was in The Lovers, which was later made into a movie in 1973, starring Beckinsale. His other credits included Porridge, Going Straight, and Rising Damp. He finished five episodes of Bloomers before his death. The episodes aired months after he died. In addition to Beckinsale, he was also the father of actress Samantha Beckinsale.
Beckinsale spoke with Shepard after Harry recently opened up about the impact his mother's death had on his mental health in the AppleTV+ series The Me You Can't See. The Duke of Sussex recalled being constantly followed by the paparazzi, adding that the cameras made his "blood boil." It "makes me angry and takes me back to what happened to my mom and what I experienced as a kid," he said. As he got older, he started sweating when he jumped into a car and saw cameras outside. "I would feel as though my body temperature was two or three degrees warmer than everybody else in the room," he said, adding that opening up about his trauma has helped him process it.