Diana spoke about how she broke the news of her divorce to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry

By Stephanie Petit
August 13, 2020 02:09 PM
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Princess Diana never met Prince William's wife, Kate Middleton, but she made sure to impart wisdom about love to her son.

In November 1995, less than two years before her tragic death, Diana sat down with BBC1 Panorama for an unprecedented interview giving her side of the story about her divorce from Prince Charles following his admitted affair with now-wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. During the talk, host Martin Bashir asked how she explained the separation to her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

"I went to the school and put it to William, particularly, that if you find someone you love in life you must hang onto it and look after it," Diana said. "And if you were lucky enough to find someone who loved you, then you must protect it."

Princess Diana and Prince William
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Prince William and Kate Middleton
PA Images

Prince William was just 10 years old when his parents separated, finalizing their divorce four years later — and he had questions for his mother about the split.

"William asked me what had been going on, and could I answer his questions, which I did," Diana explained in the interview. "He said, 'Was that the reason why our marriage had broken up?' And I said, 'Well, there were three of us in this marriage, and the pressures of the media was another factor, so the two together were very difficult.' But although I still loved Papa, I couldn't live under the same roof as him, and likewise with him."

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince Charles and Prince William
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When asked how William took the answer, Diana replied, "He's a child that's a deep thinker, and we don't know for a few years how it's gone it. But I put it gently, without resentment or anger."

Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry
Tim Graham/Getty

Prince William married Kate in April 2011, proposing with the iconic sapphire and diamond engagement ring that once belonged to Diana. The couple have three children: Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2.

Prince Louis, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte
Samir Hussein/WireImage

With William, then 13, second in line to the British throne, Bashir asked Diana during the famous interview if she believed her son should succeed Queen Elizabeth as monarch.

"Do you think it would make more sense in the light of the marital difficulties that you and the Prince of Wales have had if the position of monarch passed directly to your son Prince William?" he asked.

Diana replied, "Well, then you have to see that William's very young at the moment, so do you want a burden like that to be put on his shoulders at such an age? So I can't answer that question."

Prince William and Princess Diana
Tim Graham/Getty

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Bashir rephrased: "Would it be your wish that when Prince William comes of age that he were to succeed the Queen rather than the current Prince of Wales?"

"My wish is that my husband finds peace of mind, and from that follows others things, yes," Princess Diana said.