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Prince William opens up about the pain he felt after Princess Diana's death

The Duke of Cambridge is starting a conversation about men's mental health in a new BBC documentary.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince William is opening up about the pain of losing his mother, Princess Diana, at a young age, saying that it was "a pain like no other pain."

Princess Diana with her firstborn son, Prince William, in his Kensington Palace playroom.
Princess Diana with her firstborn son, Prince William, in his Kensington Palace playroom.Tim Graham / Tim Graham/Getty Images

In a new documentary for the BBC, 'A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health', the Duke of Cambridge, 36, is hoping to start a conversation about mental health topics such as grief and encourage men to talk about their emotions.

"I've thought about this a lot, and I'm trying to understand why I feel like I do, but I think when you are bereaved at a very young age, any time really, but particularly at a young age, I can resonate closely to that — you feel pain like no other pain," William said on the show, talking with current and former soccer players Peter Crouch, Danny Rose, Thierry Henry, Jermaine Jenas and Gareth Southgate. "And you know that in your life it's going to be very difficult to come across something that's going to be even worse pain than that."

Prince William was 15 years old when Princess Diana died as the result of injuries from a car crash in the early hours of August 31, 1997. His younger brother, Prince Harry, was only 12 and the men have taken a bold step forward to opening up a dialog about bereavement by engaging with others, particularly men, about their personal stories.

Anwar Hussein Archive Collection
Prince William with Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Harry on his first day at Eton College on September 16, 1995 in Windsor, England.Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

William went on to say that shared experience of grief have helped him open up and start a conversation with strangers.

"But it also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved," he explained. "So instantly, when you talk to someone else, you can almost see it in their eyes sometimes."

This isn't the first time William has taken steps toward tackling mental health issues. He is also one of the founders of Heads Together, a mental health initiative spearheaded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which addresses the stigma surrounding mental health.

William said in the clip from the BBC documentary that he often finds people want to talk about bereavement but will wait for him to share his experience first as a signal that it's okay to talk about it. He attributes some of the reticence to British cultural traits.

"The British stiff upper lip thing, that's great and we need to have that occasionally when times are really hard but 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."

'A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health' is part of the BBC's wider mental health series and will air on BBC One on Sunday.