Prince Harry says his mother's death is 'a wound that festers'

The royal got candid about his grief and the reminders that take him “straight back” to the loss of Princess Diana.
Princess Diana with Prince Harry
It's been 22 years since the death of Princess Diana, and her youngest son, Prince Harry, still struggles with the loss.AP

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/ Source: TODAY
By Ree Hines

Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother died, but the years have done little to ease the pain for the now 35-year-old royal.

In a new documentary filmed for Britain’s ITV News, Princess Diana’s youngest son opens up about his grief and about the grim reminders of her death that he encounters all too often.

“Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” focuses on the recent tour in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the continent where Diana made such an impact with her own charitable work.

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It was an important trip for Harry, one that would allow him to retrace his mother’s steps and continue her work — and, perhaps, even bring him some sense of peace. Because, as he said in an interview for the documentary, nothing has really done that for him so far.

Instead, he explained that her 1997 death, in a car crash that occurred while her driver attempted to flee from paparazzi, is still “a wound that festers” for him.

The Prince of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry outside Westminster Abbey at the funeral of Diana, The Princess of Wales, on September 6, 1997.Getty Images

“I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he said. “So, in that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life, as opposed to the best.”

While in Angola, Harry found himself in the spotlight as he followed his late mother’s footsteps through a minefield in Huambo for the charity HALO Trust, an organization Princess Diana brought international attention to just months before her death.

Prince Harry retraces Princess Diana's footsteps in Angola minefieldDominic Lipinski/AP, Tim Graham/Getty Images

“Being here now, 22 years later, trying to finish what she started will be incredibly emotional, but everything I do reminds me of her,” he said just before embarking on that walk. “But as I said, with the role, with the job and the pressures that come with that, I get reminded of the bad stuff, unfortunately.”

And “the bad stuff” isn’t just in the past for the prince. He fears that a similar fate could befall another woman he loves in the future.

Earlier this month, Harry made a rare and candid statement about the way the tabloid press has focused on his wife, the former Meghan Markle, since their marriage last year.

"I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” he wrote the same day a press release revealed that his wife would be suing one publication. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."