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Prince William shares 'painful memory' of when he learned about Diana's death

The prince said he experienced some "dark days of grief" when he found out about his mother's death while he was on a trip to Scotland in 1997.
/ Source: TODAY

Prince William recently shared some details about how he coped in the days following his mother’s death.

The Duke of Cambridge, who was 15 years old when Princess Diana died in 1997, was at the royal family’s Scottish holiday home when the tragedy occurred.

“Scotland is the source of some of my happiest memories but also some of my saddest. I was in Balmoral when I was told my mother had died,” he said in a speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday. “Still in shock, I found sanctuary in the service of Crathie Kirk (Church) that very morning. And in the dark days of grief that followed, I found comfort and solace in the Scottish outdoors.”

Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry pause to look at floral tributes to the late Princess Diana after a private church service at Crathie Kirk on Sept. 5, 1997. Robert Patterson / Mirrorpix via Getty Images

During his speech, William, 38, also reflected on the happy memories Scotland holds for him.

"Alongside this painful memory is one of great joy, because it was here in Scotland 20 years ago this year that I first met Catherine,” he said.

Prince William and Kate Middleton posed together following their graduation on June 23, 2005.The Middleton Family via AP

William met the former Kate Middleton in 2001 when they were both students at University of St. Andrews, and they graduated together in 2005.

“Needless to say, the time when you meet your future wife holds a very special place in your heart,” the prince said. “George, Charlotte and Louis already know how dear Scotland is to both of us. And they are starting to build their own happy memories here too."

The prince’s visit to Scotland comes less than a week after an investigation alleged that former BBC journalist Martin Bashir used unethical tactics to land his landmark 1995 interview with Diana.

William issued a video statement in the wake of the release of the investigation’s findings, saying that the lies told to his mother to convince her to do the tell-all interview contributed to her “fear, paranoia and isolation.”

“In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important," he said. "These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too."