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Prince Harry admits he's cried only twice for his mother since her death nearly 20 years ago, adding that while he cherishes her memory, he continues to lock in his grief over the loss.
“The first time I cried was at the funeral on the island, and only since then, maybe once,” the prince revealed in a new documentary about Princess Diana. “There’s a lot of grief that still needs to be let out."
Diana was buried in a private ceremony on an island on a lake at her family home. She died on Aug. 31, 1997, from injuries she sustained in a paparazzi-led car crash in Paris.
“It's like an earthquake had just run through the house,” Diana’s older son, Prince William, said in describing how he felt after learning the news.
William was 15 at the time. Harry was 12.
"I was so young I grew up thinking not having a mum was normal," said Harry, now 32. "I think it was a classic case of don't let yourself think about your mum and the grief and the hurt that comes with it."
In the ITV documentary, “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy,” which premiered Monday night on HBO, Harry and his brother open up about their close relationship with their mother, sharing memories that describe her sense of humor, taste for adventure and the passion she poured into her charity work.
Prince Harry remembers how his mom tried to make sure her children experienced life beyond the palace walls by doing things like “taking us for a burger every now and then, or sneaking us into the cinema, or driving through the country lanes with the roof down of her old school BMW."
But among what he misses the most about his mom is her affection.
“I miss those hugs. I miss having that mother to be able to give you that compassion that everybody needs,” he said. "She was our mum. She still is our mum. And of course as a son I would say this, she is the best mum in the world."
Both princes described the deep regret they feel over the last time they spoke with their mother. They had a phone call with her while vacationing in Scotland and she was in Paris.
"Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say, 'Goodbye, see you later, can I go off?'" Prince William recalled. "If I'd known what was going to happen, I wouldn't have been quite so blasé about it and everything else. That phone call sticks in my mind quite heavily."
Harry said he doesn’t remember everything he told his mom that day.
“But all I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was, and if I'd known that that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother the things that I would have said to her,” he said.
Diana would die in the crash later that evening.
At the end of documentary about the beloved royal who was often called, "The People's Princess," Prince William describes keeping his mother’s memory alive for his young children by “constantly talking about Granny Diana.” He said there are photos of her around their home and he often speaks about his mother when putting his children, Prince George, 4, and 2-year-old Princess Charlotte, to bed.
"It’s important that they know who she was and that she existed," he said.