William and Harry 'will pay their own private respects to Diana'

William and Harry ‘will pay their own private respects to Princess Diana rather than doing so in public – or together’ on today’s 25th anniversary of her death in Paris car crash

  • Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, when she was just 36
  • The brothers unveiled a bronze statue of her last year at Kensington Palace
  • But they won’t mark this anniversary together with a public statement, aides say 

William and Harry will pay their own private respects to Princess Diana today, on the 25th anniversary of her death, rather than doing so jointly in public.

Royal aides last night revealed a decision between the warring brothers had been reached as millions of other Brits across the country prepare to mark the sombre occasion.

Diana was killed suddenly in a car crash on August 31, 1997, when she was 36 – and when William and Harry were just 15 and 12.

The Mercedes she was travelling in with partner Dodi Fayed, son of tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed, was being pursued by the paparazzi after leaving the Ritz Hotel in Paris, when it crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.

William and Harry have previously marked anniversaries together, including last year when they unveiled a bronze statue of their mother in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.

However, a source told the Mirror that William is ‘not planning’ to make a public statement, adding: ‘He will no doubt spend the day reflecting on his mother’s incredible legacy and the work he continues to do every day to further it in any way he can.’

Meanwhile, Harry, who is locked in a dispute with the family after leaving with wife Meghan to move to the US, also paid tribute to her last week.

Speaking in Aspen, Colorado, he said of Diana’s anniversary: ‘I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it. 

‘I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her. Every day, I hope to do her proud.’

It comes as top barrister Michael Mansfield last night said there were still unanswered questions over Diana’s death, as he insisted the fatal crash was no accident.

William and Harry will pay their own private respects to Princess Diana today, on the 25th anniversary of her death, rather than doing so jointly in public

William and Harry have previously marked anniversaries together, including last year when they unveiled a bronze statue of their mother in the Sunken Garden

The QC, 80, who represented Mohamed Al-Fayed at a high-profile £4.5 million inquest ten years after the tragedy, said authorities never traced the drivers of a mystery car and motorbike inside the tunnel.

He told the Mirror: ‘The idea that it’s purely and simply a road accident is not right. So I want to dispel that. The truth does come to the surface in the end, but somebody’s got to be looking for it in order for that to happen.

‘I do think that this is not a ‘case closed’ by any means. There’s much more to come out of this case in the long run, and it will surface somewhere.’

Meanwhile, a charity boss spoke last night of how Diana’s ability to ‘connect’ with people remains one of her most enduring legacies.

Tessy Ojo, chief executive officer of The Diana Award, established to promote the princess’s belief young people have the power to change the world for the better, has paid tribute to the royal and described how she left flowers at Kensington Palace after the princess’ death.

Ms Ojo said: ‘Her ability to connect with people though kindness and compassion is one of her most significant legacies. She left a mark on all our lives.’

She added: ‘Diana, Princess of Wales, believed that young people have the power to change the world. Continuing her legacy also means building the capacity of young people to change their world by tackling the big issues of our time.

‘Like Diana, Princess of Wales they’re not afraid to speak out and be at the forefront of change. I can only imagine how immensely proud she would be of the tens of thousands of young people from across the world who are continuing her legacy.’

Fans of Diana are expected to gather at her former home of Kensington Palace and remember the royal throughout the day.

The Earl Spencer, Prince William, Prince Harry and The Prince of Wales wait as the hearse carrying the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales prepares to leave Westminster Abbey following her funeral service in 1997

The occasion comes as Harry and Meghan are to visit the UK next month – but are not set to see William and Kate.

On September 5 the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will travel from their home in California to visit Manchester for the One Young World Summit, where Meghan will give the keynote address at the opening ceremony.

The couple will then head to Germany for an event to commemorate a year until the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf on September 6, before returning to the UK for the WellChild Awards in London on September 8 where Prince Harry will deliver a speech.

It is the first time the couple will be in the UK since the Jubilee celebrations in June, when they kept a low profile. They also visited in April, when they secretly met with Charles and the Queen on their way to the Netherlands

The Duke of Cambridge and his family, meanwhile, are moving from Kensington Palace to Adelaide Cottage – just a ten-minute walk from Windsor Castle, later this month.

William and Harry: The royal brothers’ rift 25 years after Diana’s death 

Twenty-five years on from the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, much has changed in the lives of her two sons.

Princes William and Harry were just 15 and 12 when their mother was tragically killed in a car crash in a Paris underpass in the early hours of August 31, 1997.

The brothers sought comfort from one another in the aftermath of Diana’s death during their difficult teenage years and beyond.

Harry said of William when he turned 21: ‘Ever since our mother died, obviously we were close, but he is the one person on this earth who I can actually really… we can talk about anything.’

The Princess of Wales and her sons William and Harry in 1994

A quarter of a century later, the royal brothers – the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex – are now grown men, fathers and husbands – but their once close relationship has altered beyond all recognition, blighted by a long-running rift.

Harry’s fallout with William stretches back to before his 2018 wedding to American-born former Suits actress Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex.

The duke was apparently angered at what he perceived to be his brother’s ‘snobbish’ attitude towards his bride, after William questioned whether he should rush into things.

The Sussexes later quit as senior working royals after struggling with royal life and moved to California.

They went on, post-Megxit, to accuse the royal family of racism in a primetime Oprah Winfrey television interview and the institution of not helping Meghan when she had suicidal thoughts.

The brothers at Harry´s wedding in 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the Commonwealth Service in 2019

The Duchess of Cambridge was publicly singled out by Meghan for allegedly making her cry in the run-up to the wedding.

Harry said he loved William to bits and they had been through hell together, but he added: ‘The relationship is space at the moment. And time heals all things, hopefully.’

William was furious that private family matters were brought into the public domain.

But Robert Lacey, author of Battle Of Brothers: William, Harry And The Inside Story Of A Family In Turmoil, said there were problems much earlier, including in 2005 when Harry was condemned for dressing up as a Nazi for a ‘Colonials and Natives’ party.

Harry was accompanied by William when he chose the costume in a fancy dress shop, but there was no criticism of his older brother in the press, with Harry left struck by his own role as ‘the monarchy’s institutional scapegoat’.

The Prince and Princess of Wales with William and Harry on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1985

Prince Harry, five, joining his brother William, seven, on his first day at the Wetherby School in 1989

Mr Lacey wrote: ‘The young prince began re-evaluating his elder brother’s involvement and the unfairness of William’s subsequent emergence smelling of roses. It made Harry feel alienated.

‘Friends recall ‘no-speaks’ and quite a serious rift between the two brothers at this time.’

Mr Lacey suggested Diana raised her sons with a ‘Talk to each other, for God’s sake!’ approach and would have wanted them to end their continuing ‘social distancing’.

Harry has admitted he turned to drink and drugs as he dealt with the trauma of his mother’s death.

His openness about how he battled to cope and came close to a ‘complete breakdown’ after not talking about his loss has won plaudits from mental health charities.

On the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017, William and Harry were side by side as they viewed tributes left for the princess at her former home, Kensington Palace.

William and Harry in happier times ahead of the Enduro Africa charity ride in South Africa in 2008

They marked the occasion by commissioning a statue in her memory.

But in the wake of the Megxit and Oprah controversies, they reunited only briefly in the summer of 2021 to finally unveil the bronze tribute, going their separate ways immediately afterwards.

Harry and Meghan are due to visit the UK in September and are expected to stay at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate, just walking distance from the Cambridge family’s new home Adelaide Cottage.

Yet a rapprochement looks unlikely, not least due to the looming prospect of the publication of Harry’s tell-all memoirs, with the couples not expected to spend time together during the Sussexes’ whirlwind trip.

‘Granny Diana’ has five grandchildren she never got to meet – William and Kate’s children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and Harry and Meghan’s youngsters Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.

The Cambridge children make cards for the princess each year on Mother’s Day, with Charlotte poignantly writing, as seen in pictures released last year: ‘I love you very much. Papa is missing you.’

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