William and Harry recall last phone call with Diana

LONDON • Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry have revealed that they spoke to Princess Diana on the day she died and that the "short" conversation now weighs "heavily" on their mind.

"It was her speaking from Paris, I can't really necessarily remember what I said, but all I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was," Prince Harry told ITV for a documentary to commemorate their mother.

Prince William was just 15 and his brother, Harry, 12, when their mother and her boyfriend Dodi Al- Fayed were killed in August 1997.

The car they were in crashed in a tunnel in central Paris as it was being pursued at high speed by press photographers.Their French chauffeur Henri Paul, who was later found to be over the legal blood alcohol limit, also died.

The two princes were in Balmoral, the queen's residence in the Scottish Highlands, and Prince William had earlier told their mother of the "very good time" they were having.

"Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know 'see you later'... if I'd known now obviously what was going to happen, I wouldn't have been so blase about it and everything else," Prince William said. "But that phone call sticks in my mind, quite heavily."

To mark the 20th anniversary of her death, the princes announced earlier this year that they were setting up a committee to raise funds to pay for a statue of Diana, who was known as the Princess of Wales.

The statue is to be erected in the public gardens of Kensington Palace in London, where she lived.

The documentary, entitled Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy, is set to air in Britain today.

"I think you get the private Diana," Mr Nick Kent, the film's executive producer, said. "Nobody has ever told this story from the point of view of the two people who knew her better than anyone else and loved her the most: her sons."

The princes recall their mother's sense of humour, with Prince Harry describing her as "one of the naughtiest parents".

They also recall the pain of her divorce from Prince Charles and how they dealt with the news of her death and its aftermath.

While the film addresses aspects of Diana's life such as her charity work involving HIV and land mines, it shies away from more controversial issues, such as extra-marital affairs.

According to the makers, however, the British royals were very open and did not put any subject off limits. Rather, they wanted to cover new ground and make a different type of film.

"What we had in mind is that in years to come, Prince William and Prince Harry would be happy to show this film to their own children and say this is who your grandmother was," Mr Kent said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'William and Harry recall last phone call with Diana'. Print Edition | Subscribe