He’s remained fairly tight-lipped on just how deeply losing his mother Princess Diana affected him, but now Prince William has opened up in one of his most deeply honest TV appearances to date – admitting it was a “pain like no other”.
Speaking to a group of footballers including Peter Crouch and England manager Gareth Southgate on BBC documentary A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, the Duke of Cambridge says it’s hugely important to talk about grief and not keep the “British stiff upper lip”.
“I think when you are bereaved at a very young age – you feel pain like no other pain,” he says in the video, shared by Kensington Palace online.
“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.
“But it also brings you so close to all those others who have been bereaved.”
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 17, 2019
Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. William was 15 at the time and his brother Harry was 12.
The 36-year-old goes on to say men need to open up on their emotions and not try to keep them hidden, adding: “We are nervous about our emotions, we’re a bit embarrassed sometimes.
“The British stiff upper lip thing – that’s great and we need to have that occasionally when times are really hard. 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.”
Meanwhile, according to The Mail Online, William also speaks about how the grief affected his work as an air ambulance pilot – and was made worse when seeing loss on a daily basis.
He reportedly goes on to say: “You’re dealing with families who are having the worst news they could ever possibly have – on a day-to-day basis.
“It leaves you with a very depressing, very negative feeling, where you think death is just around the door everywhere I go. And that’s quite a burden to carry and feel.”
Speaking of the “personal” resonance he felt with some families, he adds: “That raw emotion, I just thought listen, I can’t – I could feel it brewing up inside me and I could feel it was going to take its toll and be a real problem.
“I had to speak about it… when you see somebody at death’s door, with their family all around them, it’s a very hard thing to describe.
“Even though you don’t necessarily know the individual or the family, you share someone’s pain – because we all do. We all have families, we can all relate to it.”
It comes after his brother Harry opened up recently about the death of his mother, telling a former soldier that losing her is like “missing some kind of security”.
According to British newspaper The Sun, Harry spoke openly to veteran Dennis van der Stroon about how baby Archie has given him a “new focus” since making his way into the world just four days ago.
“I told Harry about my mother and we talked about our shared experience of missing a mom,” van der Stroon told the newspaper. “He said missing a mother is like missing some kind of security, how you need that as a son and it falls away when you lose your mother.
“He said he meets a lot of people in his work who have lost a mother, father, sister, brother or relatives and when he hears their story, as he heard my story, he said he doesn’t feel so alone.”