There are plenty of iconic images we’ll never forget. From a toddler-aged John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father’s coffin at his funeral to the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square on VJ day to soldiers raising the U.S. Flag at Iwo Jima, these images are ingrained in our minds and sometimes our hearts. Many iconic and gut-wrenching images come out of Great Britain’s royal family and especially the funeral of Princess Diana.
Princess Diana was a beloved figure in England. Her death at age 36 on Aug. 31, 1997, shocked the world. Chances are you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news that she’d been killed in a car accident after being pursued by paparazzi. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were just 15 and 12 years old, respectively. The princes were vacationing at Balmoral when their mother died, ABC News reports. Back in 2017, on the 20th anniversary of Diana’s passing, the princes spoke out about what they learned in the wake of their mother’s death.
In the BBC documentary, Diana, 7 Days That Shook the World, Prince William said, “I remember just feeling completely numb, disorientated, dizzy. You feel very, very confused. And you keep asking yourself, ‘Why me?’ All the time, ‘Why? What have I done? Why? Why has this happened to me?”
Reading those words immediately brings to mind the most gut-wrenching image from Princess Diana’s funeral.
Prince Harry later said that the public nature of Diana's funeral was hard on him
In the iconic and gut-wrenching image from Princess Diana’s funeral, the young princes walk behind their mother’s casket with their father, Prince Charles, their grandfather, Prince Philip, and their uncle, Earl Charles Spencer. In an interview with Newsweek in 2017, Harry said that day and being forced to walk behind his mother’s coffin was torturous.
“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television. I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today,” Harry said.
Harry’s pain in the image is palpable. His head is bowed and his fists are clenched. In the Newsweek interview, Harry admitted he was scarred by that day. Harry also said that his mother wanted him and his brother to live ordinary lives. “People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live. I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone … Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
One thing is for sure, with Harry, Meghan, and Archie essentially decamping from the royal family to forge their own path in California, Harry is following that more ordinary path his mother so wanted for her sons.
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