The fateful date is approaching. Like every year, at the end of the summer, the minds of William and Harry, two brothers that everything seems to oppose today, are focused on one and the same thing: the disappearance of their mother Diana Spencer.
On 31 August 1997, the Duchess was in Paris when she was involved in a car accident under the Alma bridge. Despite the rapid intervention of the emergency services, Princess Diana succumbed to her injuries in the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital a few hours later.
During that terrible night, Princes William and Harry were half orphans but did not know it yet. It was their father, Prince Charles, who took care to tell them in person. Le Parisien recalls:
Sunday 31 August. She had been dead for three hours when Prince Charles approached William's bed at 7.15am at Balmoral Castle in Scotland where the boys were finishing their holiday. Father and son cried together, clutching each other, then went to wake Harry. William, always very protective, wanted to be there to tell his little brother the news.
An argument as the last exchange
This was followed by endless days of mourning and the most significant event in the lives of Princes William and Harry: following the coffin of their mother, who died too soon, on foot for more than a kilometre. A long and silent walk during which the two boys are immersed in their thoughts. William in his last words to his mother, no doubt.
Prince William conceded in 2018:
The trauma of that day has been with me for twenty years, like a weight. Contrary to what people think, the shock can last a very long time.
If mourning the death of a parent is already very difficult for a teenager, the Duke of Cambridge must also deal with his guilt, as Le Parisien newspaper reports in its summer story:
The day before the tragedy, the boys had cut short their mother's phone call, in a hurry to find their cousins. William had even argued with her about Dodi al-Fayed. He has had to live with this regret ever since.
A pain that will unfortunately accompany him until the end.