Prince William was only 15 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in 1997. In a new interview, the future King of England opened up about the pain he felt after her sudden death in Paris in a car crash.
"I think when you are bereaved at a very young age, anytime really, but particularly at a young age — I can resonate closely to that — you feel pain like no other pain," William said during a discussion with soccer players of the BBC's A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, notes Us Weekly. "And you know that in your life it’s going to be very difficult to come across something that is going to be an even worse pain than that. But it also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved."
William, who is now as old as his mother was when she died at 36, said it has been important to seek out those with similar experiences at a young age.
"So you instantly, when you talk to someone else, you can almost see it in their eyes sometimes," William said. "It’s a weird thing to say, but somebody — particularly me — someone who’s desperate to talk about bereavement, you can kind of pick up on it quite quickly. They want to talk about it. But they want you to go first, they want you to say, ‘It’s OK,’ they want to have your permission. In that particular conversation, one-on-one it’s OK to talk about bereavement.”
William also suggested the struggles the British people face when discussing mental health is cultural. Many are taught not to speak out about their emotions.
“The British stiff upper lip thing, that’s great and we need to have that occasionally when times are really hard," the Duke of Cambridge said. "There has to be a moment for that. But otherwise, we’ve got to relax a little bit and be able to talk about our emotions because we’re not robots.”
"If you look back to the fact that I lost my mom at the age of 12 on the public platform of which it was, and then everything else that happens with being in the spotlight in this sort of role and the pressures that come with it," Harry said at the time. "And then going to Afghanistan, and then working in the personal recovering unit with all of the soldiers as well and taking on a lot of their issues. Anybody would look at that and go, 'OK, there must be something wrong with you. You can't be totally normal."
Harry said he would often ignore his emotions, but now recognizes how harmful that was.
"I can safely say that losing my mom at the age of 12 and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but also my work as well," he said at the time. "It was only three years ago that, from the support around and my brother and other people who started to say, 'You need to deal with this. It's not normal to think that nothing's affecting you.'"
Harry and William are now both parents. William and Kate Middleton are parents to Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1. Harry and Meghan Markle welcomed Archie on May 6.
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