The death of Princess Diana shook the entire world to its core. This wasn’t just another royal: she was “the people’s princess,” and it’s not surprising to discover how much the people mourned her sudden and shocking death.
As keenly as fans felt the death of Princess Diana, though, nobody mourned her as intensely nor as deeply as her children. Prince William and Prince Harry suddenly had to deal with the death of their mother, and they had to process their own grief in the midst of the world’s sorrow over the death of Diana.
While both children were deeply affected, it seems that Prince Harry was downright traumatized by the death of his mother to the point where he felt he couldn’t even cry when he wanted to. What is Harry’s story, and what is the one moment that nearly made the tears flow? Keep reading to discover the answer!
The shocking death of Princess Diana
Part of what made the death of Diana so shocking was how sudden it was. While she was being hounded by paparazzi, her driver Henri Paul tried to preserve her privacy by driving into the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
This was a good idea on paper, but as Parade reports, he was traveling at nearly twice the posted speed limit and under the influence. Perhaps due to these factors or something else entirely, he lost control of the vehicle and it crashed into a wall and then into a pillar. The driver died immediately, as did Diana’s boyfriend, Dodi Fayed. Diana lived long enough to be transported to the hospital, but she soon died due to her injuries.
This left the world traumatized by her sudden and violent loss. Perhaps none were more traumatized, though, than the young Prince Harry.
Being unable to show his emotions in public
Prince Harry was only 12 when his mother died. As reported by Cheat Sheet, he later opened up about how he felt in an interview with Tom Bradby. Harry says that he was unable to openly express his emotions, feeling as though he had to put on a brave face for all the people he encountered who suddenly wanted to talk about his deceased mother.
During this time, Harry permitted himself to cry on exactly one occasion, and this was during the actual burial service for his mother. Otherwise, though, the young Harry (perhaps taking a cue from his older brother) felt it was his duty to maintain the typical British stiff upper lip and not reveal how his mother’s death and the subsequent proceedings really made him feel.
Everyone could cry but Harry
It’s one thing for the young prince to decide that he wasn’t going to cry in public over the death of his mother. However, what made this decision more bittersweet was the fact that Harry encountered countless supporters who didn’t (or perhaps couldn’t) hold back their own emotions about the death of Diana.
As CNN reports, Harry told Bradby that he kept shaking hands with people who had wet hands. He didn’t understand why this was at the time, but he eventually realized what was happening. “We couldn’t understand why their hands were wet, but it was all the tears that they were wiping away. Everyone thought and felt like they knew our mom.’ This revelation ended up making Harry think how cosmically unfair everything was. Speaking of himself and William, he said, “the two closest people to her, the two most loved people by her, were unable to show any emotion in that moment.”
Harry’s emotional reaction to Elton John’s tribute song
For the most part, the young Prince Harry did his best to avoid openly crying in public over the death of his mother. However, there was one thing that nearly made Harry cry just as it made countless people around the world cry, and that was Elton John’s tribute performance of “Candle in the Wind.”
The Daily Mail reports that Harry said, “Elton John’s song was incredibly emotional, that was part of this whole trigger system which nearly brought me to the point of crying in public, which I’m glad I didn’t do.” It’s interesting to note that even as the older Harry laments that he couldn’t openly express public emotion over the death of his mother, he is still glad that Elton John’s song didn’t reduce him to tears.
Well, that makes one of us, Harry!
Meghan Markle’s own complex relationship with Diana
These days, Prince Harry is much more in touch with his emotions. He can likely credit that to the emotional support of his wife, the controversial Meghan Markle. In turn, Meghan isn’t afraid to look to Diana for guidance when she has questions and concerns.
According to the Daily Mail, Harry and Meghan visited Diana’s grave on the 20th anniversary of her death. At one point, Harry gave his wife some privacy, so she could spend time alone with Diana. And when he returned, Harry was shocked to discover that his wife was actually speaking to his late mother.
“When I returned, she was on her knees with her eyes closed and her palms flat against the stone,” Harry writes in his new memoir. He says that Meghan was asking Diana for “clarity and guidance.” And in these uncertain times, all of us could likely benefit from the clarity, guidance, and sheer grace that Diana had to offer to the world.