Diana’s sons face turbulent times 23 years after her death


The anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales's death follows a turbulent time for her sons the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex.

The princess was killed in a car crash 23 years ago on August 31 1997 when William and Harry were only 15 and 12.

A new biography of Harry and the Duchess of Sussex, Finding Freedom, this month revisited the rift between the dukes.

The book said Harry was angered by what he perceived as his brother's "snobbish" attitude to his bride ahead of his wedding after William advised him "take as much time as you need to get to know this girl".

Harry stepped down as a senior working royal in March to live in the US with Meghan after the couple sparked a major crisis by publicly announcing their plans in a bombshell statement.

Following the Queen's Sandringham summit in January, which was called to solve the Megxit debacle, William and Harry stopped speaking for two months, royal author Omid Scobie said.

The Duchess of Cambridge was also accused of not reaching out to Meghan to help her settle into royal life and of snubbing her sister-in-law at the Sussexes' final public royal engagement.

On Friday, a rare joint statement was issued on behalf of William and Harry about the statue the pair have commissioned to honour their mother.

The permanent memorial by renowned artist Ian Rank-Broadley, which has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, will now be unveiled in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace on July 1 next year.

The poignant date would have been Diana's 60th birthday and the news raised hopes the project will bring the brothers closer together.

Royal wedding
Royal wedding

When younger, William and Harry's bond appeared unbreakable, and they were united in their experience of a royal childhood and the trauma of losing their mother.

They were each other's best man on their wedding days, and Harry said when he was 21: "It's amazing how close we've become.

"I mean, ever since our mother died, obviously we were close, but he is the one person on this earth who I can actually really ... we can talk about anything.

Broadcaster Tom Bradby, a friend of the Sussexes who interviewed them for a documentary about their Africa tour, wrote about the rift: "The fallout began at the time of the wedding in 2018.

"Really damaging things were said and done.

"The atmosphere soured hard and early, but few meaningful attempts were made by anyone to heal the wounds."

He added: "There is no doubt Harry and Meghan feel they have been driven out."

Diana's funeral
Diana's funeral

Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed died when their Mercedes crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris as they were being pursued by the paparazzi.

Mr Fayed's chauffeur Henri Paul was drunk and driving too fast.

In February, Harry, in a speech at a JP Morgan-sponsored summit in Florida, told of how he has been in therapy for the past few years to try to overcome the trauma of losing his mother.