IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Prince William reveals how he let Diana down: 'We couldn't protect her'

Nearly 20 years after their mother's death, the two princes say they "owe it to her" to speak out about what they experienced.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince William and his brother Prince Harry are speaking out about their state of mind during the week following the death of Princess Diana, revealing details about the guilt they felt over not being able to protect her.

Princess Diana with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry
Princess William says he and his brother, seen here in 1995 with Princess Diana, let their mother down by failing to protect her.Anwar Hussein / Getty Images

In a new interview for an upcoming BBC documentary, Prince William, who was 15 when his mother passed away, said he and Harry are compelled to talk now “because we feel we owe it to her.”

“I think an element of it is feeling like we let her down when we were younger. We couldn’t protect her,” William said in the interview. “We feel we at least owe her 20 years on to stand up for her name and remind everybody of the character and person that she was. Do our duties as sons in protecting her.”

Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince William and P
Princess Diana with her young sons Prince William and Prince Harry at Kensington Palace in 1985.Tim Graham / Tim Graham/Getty Images

While the two royals have spoken candidly recently about the trauma they experienced after their mother’s death, this is the first time they have opened up about the period immediately after she died and the week leading up to her very public funeral.

Princess Diana was killed in an August 1997 car crash in Paris after her driver tried to flee a crowd of paparazzi chasing them.

Princess Diana's Funeral
Princes William and Harry with their father, Prince Charles outside Westminster Abbey on the day of their mother's Sept. 6, 1997, funeral service.Princess Diana Archive / Getty Images file

Prince Harry, who was 12 at the time, said the public reaction to his mother's death left him and his brother stunned.

“When she died there was such an outpour of emotion and love which was quite, which was shocking," he said. "It was beautiful at the same time, and it was amazing, now looking back at it, it was amazing that our mother had such a huge effect on so many people."

Earlier this year, Harry revealed he sought counseling to help him deal with the emotional turmoil he experienced after his mother died.

Prince William and Prince Harry at Pippa Middleton's wedding
The two royals say they are opening up about their mother because, nearly 20 years after her death, "we owe it to her." EPA

“When you’re that young and something like that happens to you I think it’s lodged in here, there, wherever — in your heart, in your head and it stays there for a very, very long time,” he said in the BBC interview.

“I think it’s never going to be easy for the two of us to talk about our mother, but 20 years on seems like a good time to remind people of the difference that she made not just to the Royal Family but also to the world.”

The documentary, with the working title “Diana,” will mark the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death.


Prince William admits he and Prince Harry should’ve talked about Diana's death

Prince Harry reveals he was 'in chaos,' sought counseling after Diana's death

Prince William reveals how he hopes to raise Prince George in new interview

Follow Eun Kyung Kim on Twitter or Facebook.