Prince William and Prince Harry 'Turned the Dial on Talking About Grief,' Says Princess Diana's Friend

"I think both the princes have really turned the dial on talking about grief so honestly and also about mental health," said Julia Samuel, a grief counselor and the late royal icon's close friend

Prince harry, prince William, Julia Samuel
Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images (2); Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Princess Diana's close friend Julia Samuel is opening up about her relationship with the late iconic royal.

In an interview with The Guardian published Sunday, the 62-year-old best-selling author, who is also one of Prince George's godmothers, credited Prince William and Prince Harry with positively influencing the public conversation surrounding grief and mental health.

"I think both the princes have really turned the dial on talking about grief so honestly and also about mental health. But that was all theirs, completely off their own bats," said Samuel, a grief counselor.

She also recalled her feelings after learning Princess Diana was killed in a Paris, France car crash on Aug. 31, 1997.

"I felt angry," she added. "I was angry that she died, and shocked and I couldn't really understand it all. I mean, I understand it better now ... I understand that people felt they really knew and loved her. But I still feel sad today."

When asked about her ties to the royal family, she added, "Well, I feel lucky I was such a good friend of Princess Diana. And I really love my godson, George. And it's a lovely way of loving her."

The books of Samual, a widely acclaimed pioneer of pediatric psychotherapy, often center around trauma and change. Throughout the span of her career, many have sought her expertise on bereavement.

"I feel that in some ways, my professional life is completely separate from my friendships and private life. But, of course, nothing is separate. Who I am and who I know is also part of my professional self. And so … That's me," added Samual.

Julia Samuel, Diana Princess of Wales
Alan Davidson/Shutterstock

Over the years both princes have been open about their own personal struggles with mental health.

Prince William's work as an air ambulance helicopter pilot helped inspire him to spread awareness about the importance of supporting mental health and wellbeing.

"We know mental health has been a taboo and a stigma for a long time all around the world. And it still is," he said in a previous interview. "I'd like to think, in the U.K. here and the U.S., it's much more talked about, and it's opening up. But there's still a deep-rooted fear of understanding it.

"And we all need to go through a process of understanding why rather than just give in to those feelings and say, 'Listen, it's me. I'm the problem.' It's not. It really isn't you.

"And you're not alone, and it's okay. It's about what you do next. It's about having that boldness and that openness and that strength to go, 'It's going to be a long journey. It's not going to be easy, but I'm going to get there.' "

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex
Prince William and Prince Harry. Alamy Stock Photo

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Prince Harry previously spoke publicly about the path that led him to therapy.

In an emotional revelation in the AppleTV+ docuseries The Me You Can't See, co-created by Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex spoke openly about his mental health journey, sharing that he has been in therapy for four years "to heal myself from the past."

He also revealed that it was his wife Meghan Markle who encouraged him to seek help.

"I saw doctors, I saw therapists, I saw alternative therapists. I saw all sorts of people. But it was meeting and being with Meghan, I knew that if I didn't do therapy and fix myself, that I was going to lose this woman who I could see spending the rest of my life with," he shared at the time.

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