Prince William grew up in front of the world. And the world watched him grieve the sudden and tragic death of his mother when he was only 15.
Now 33 and a father of two, he spoke about Princess Diana’s death during a charity dinner in a moving, and very rare, speech, ABC News reported.
The prince doesn’t often speak about his mother, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Only three years earlier, she launched Child Bereavement UK, which helps children grieving the death of a parent or parents grieving the death of a child.
During a dinner celebrating the 21st anniversary of the charity, William said the loss of a loved one is the “most painful experience that any child or parent can endure.”
That sober fact of life was something Prince William said his mother recognized two decades ago, and now as a young father, is something he understands today, the Independent added.
“CBUK works with military families, with the wrecked families of suicide victims, with little children whose lives have been torn apart by the inexplicable death of a parent. And yet amid all this misery, CBUK — and I don’t know how they do this — brings warmth, comfort, a guiding hand, a way through, even colour and joyfulness, and a renewed opportunity for love as a family reknits itself after tragedy.”
The organization is now run by one of Princess Diana’s closest friends, Julia Samuel, who is also a godmother to George, now 2. They assist the grieving children of military personnel, suicide victims, and the terminally ill, as well as any child trying to cope with the loss of a parent.
William noted that often, people “slink away” when a friend is bereaved, but his mother’s charity is there to help. He praised the CBUK for their work and said his mother would be very proud, noting the importance of the organization in his life.
“CBUK’s humanity is simply unparalleled, and it is deeply moving.”
According to the Daily Beast, the charity trains 7,000 professionals every year to better understand bereavement and help those in need.
Prince William and his brother, Harry, are both patrons of their mom’s charities and have spent their lives keeping her legacy alive.
Of course, Prince William’s stop at this special dinner was only the cap on the end of a long day. Earlier in the afternoon, he was seen at Cambridge University, where he met with professors and studied agriculture, and he also helped open a new archive center.
That is where Prince William opened up again, speaking candidly to Professor Christopher Dobson, the Master of St. John’s, about his two children, People reported.
Both Prince George and Princess Charlotte, five months, were born to much international hoopla and excitement, their childhoods since heavily photographed and reported by the media. Dobson said Prince William shared detail about the royal brother and sister — they’re already very different.
“We talked a little bit about the children and he did make a couple of comments about their different temperaments. He said George is very lively and Charlotte is very lady-like. He said they were both delightful of course.”
The new Archive Center, which Prince William was there to help open, is in a 13th-century building home to documents dating back to medieval times; the newly-discovered, 14th-century copy of the Magna Carta is being stored there.
“I shan’t touch it, just in case,” Prince William joked.
Though if anyone could touch the historical artifact, surely the second in line to the British throne would be allowed.
But despite Prince William’s rather lofty public lifestyle, he does maintain some normalcy. Besides gushing over his kids and sharing stories about his mom, he works as an ambulance pilot and, earlier this month, saved a young girl who’d been hurt in a car crash.
[Photo Courtesy Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images]