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William and Harry feel they let mother Princess Diana down: 'We couldn't protect her'

The Princes are set to appear in a new BBC documentary to mark 20 years since Diana's death

william harry diana
Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Prince William and Prince Harry will talk for the first time about the moment they heard that their mother Princess Diana had died in a new 90-minute BBC documentary to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana's death. The brothers were 15 and 12 when Diana was tragically killed in Paris, and they will both speak candidly about the aftermath of the event, with particular focus on the week following the car accident.

In a clip of the show, the Duke of Cambridge, 34, says they wanted to take part in the documentary because they both felt they had let Diana down in life. "Part of the reason why Harry and I want to do this is because we feel we owe it to her," William said. "I think an element of it is feeling like we let her down when we were younger. We couldn't protect her. We feel we at least owe her 20 years on to stand up for her name and remind everybody of the character and person that she was. Do our duties as sons in protecting her."

william harry diana funeral1© Photo: Getty Images

Prince William and Prince Harry at the funeral of their mother on 6 September 1997

His younger brother Prince Harry, 32, added: "When she died there was such an outpouring of emotion and love which was quite, which was quite shocking. It was beautiful at the same time, and it was amazing, now looking back at it, it was amazing that our mother had such a huge effect on so many people.

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"When you're that young and something like that happens to you I think it's lodged in here, there, wherever – in your heart, in your head and it stays there for a very very long time. I think it's never going to be easy for the two of us to talk about our mother, but 20 years on seems like a good time to remind people of the difference that she made not just to the Royal Family but also to the world."

william harry diana tributes© Photo: Getty Images

The brothers and their father, Prince Charles, survey floral tributes left in honour of Princess Diana

A BBC spokesperson said the documentary "will tell the inside story of the tumultuous and unprecedented week that followed the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and explore how she came to have such an extraordinary effect on the nation and people around the world". It will also include interviews with close friends, political figures and journalists, many of them speaking for the first time about the events of that week in August 1997.

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The documentary was announced as part of 35 hours of new BBC programmes covering history, science, religion, documentaries and factual entertainment. Alison Kirkham, controller of factual commissioning, said: "We are living in a period of seismic change when it feels harder than ever to get to grips with what is happening around us. In an era of false facts and fake news, it is the role of a proudly independent BBC to respond by offering a trusted lens through which to view and understand the world."

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