Prince Harry said he felt his mother's "presence" throughout his exit from royal life

By Stephanie Pettit and Simon Perry
March 10, 2021 09:00 AM
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Princess Diana wanted sons Prince William and Prince Harry to be "happy."

Following Harry and Meghan Markle's revealing sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, which revealed why the couple felt they had to step back as working members of the royal family, a close friend of Princess Diana says she only hoped for the best for her sons.

"She loved her boys and would want them to be very happy," the friend tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

During the Oprah interview, Harry opened up about what his mother, who died in a 1997 car crash, would think about his exit from royal life.

"I think she would feel very angry with how this has panned out and very sad, but ultimately, all she'd ever want is for us to be happy," he said.

prince harry, princess diana, prince william
Princess Diana, Prince Harry and Prince William
| Credit: Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty

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Harry added that without the money left to him by Princess Diana, they "would not have been able to do this."

"I think she saw it coming," he added. "I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process."

prince harry, princess diana
Prince Harry and Princess Diana
| Credit: John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty

The Duke of Sussex also compared Meghan's plight with that of his late mother's.

"You know, for me, I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side because I can't begin to imagine what it must've been like for [my mother] going through this process by herself all those years ago," Harry said.

Prince harry and Megan and Oprah
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Oprah Winfrey
| Credit: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions

Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah drew comparisons to Princess Diana's explosive 1995 interview with the BBC's Panorama, in which she spoke candidly about self-harm, depression and bulimia.

"I was ashamed because I couldn't cope with the pressures," Diana said at the time.

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Harry said the "tipping point" for him was when his and Meghan's calls for help went unanswered.

"What I was seeing was history repeating itself, but…far more dangerous, because then you add race in, and you add social media in," he said. "And when I talk about history repeating itself, I'm talking about my mother."