The death or loss of one’s mother can be called the ultimate tragedy. Nothing can be more devastating. The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William is candidly speaking out about how the tragic loss of his mother Princess Diana forever changed his life.
In a preview for the BBC special A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, Prince William, a dad-of-three sat down with a group of men to discuss the stigma men feel when showing emotions and in the process, William, 36, opened up about his own experience with grief.
He talked about the pain of losing his mother when he was just 15. He also talked about how deeply difficult and completely heartbreaking it was when his mother was killed in a car accident. William said:
“I think when you are bereaved at a very young age – any time really, but particularly at a young age, I can resonate closely to that – you feel pain like no other pain, and you know that in your life it’s going to be very difficult to come across something that’s going to be even worse pain than that.”
However, William notes that although losing a loved one can be very challenging to overcome, he found strength in sharing his story with those who experienced the same.
“When you are bereaved at a very young age, you feel pain like no other pain. It also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved. So instantly, when you talk to someone else… You can almost see it in their eyes sometimes.”
William further explained that British people have a hard time expressing their emotions and he hopes to change that.
“There has to be a moment for that,” William says of the British stiff upper lip as it’s known, adding that people need to “be able to talk about our emotions, because we’re not robots.”
William’s honest conversation comes just a couple of days after it was revealed that Prince Harry feels “a gap” raising his newborn son Archie with wife, Meghan Markle without his mom. A royal household source told PEOPLE:
“There will be a gap from Harry’s point of view. It’s very sad that poor Diana isn’t here to see her children getting married and now have babies. And it is so sad for him that she isn’t here too,” added a close friend of Diana’s. “Life is so precarious.”
This isn’t the first time that Prince William has been an outspoken advocate for mental health issues. He co-founded an important initiative called Heads Together, which aims to break down stigmas and fund raise for mental health services.
And, back in 2016, he penned a powerful letter on Father’s Day which encouraged parents to have open discussions with their children about any challenges they’re going through. It might help the young person later down the road, he said. William wrote:
“What we have seen time and time again is that so many of the issues that adolescents and adults are dealing with can be linked to unresolved childhood challenges.
Addicts that were not getting treatment for a serious psychological condition that started in their teens; men who committed suicide who had been depressed since they were in primary school; homeless teenagers who could not confront significant emotional challenges.”
William noted that those circumstances might have turned out differently if the people felt that they could speak honestly and openly about their struggles while growing up. He added:
“I really believe that a child’s mental health is just as important as his or her physical health.”