How Prince William and Prince Harry are keeping Princess Diana’s legacy alive so many years after losing her

It's been 25 years since their mother's untimely death but her sons are making sure her memory lives on.
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Prince William and Prince Harry have both spent more of their lives without their mother, Princess Diana, than they ever got to spend with her.

After losing her in a tragic car crash in 1997, both princes mourned not only the woman they called “mum”, but also one of their greatest royal role models.

Now 40 and 37 respectively, William and Harry have gone to great lengths to preserve their mother’s memory and carry on her legacy in the 25 years since she died.

From charity work, to travel and of course, the beautiful tribute in Princess Charlotte and Lilibet’s names, both of Diana’s sons are keeping her memory very much alive despite the pain of her loss.

Speaking of his immeasurable grief, William once mused: “Initially, there is a sense of profound shock and disbelief that this could ever happen to you.

“Real grief often does not hit home until much later. For many it is a grief never entirely lost.

Prince William and Prince Harry were only young when Princess Diana died.


“Life is altered as you know it, and not a day goes past without you thinking about the one you have lost.”

Meanwhile, Harry recalled walking in Diana’s funeral procession in a 2021 mental health series with Oprah Winfrey.

“It was like I was outside of my body and just walking along doing what was expected of me,” he said of the heartbreaking experience.

“[I was] showing one tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing: This was my mum – you never even met her.”

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But the sons of the late Princess of Wales use their mother’s memory to keep them going.

Diana’s legacy of charity and huanitarian work has inspired their efforts across causes like mental health, homelessness, HIV and AIDS.

Not only that, both Harry and William have also established a number of their own projects and initiatives in her name over the years.

After all, as Harry said in 2021: “I’ve got a hell of a lot of my mum in me.”

Click through the gallery to find out all the ways the supportive royal brothers are keeping Diana’s memory alive!

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In 2013, Prince Harry retraced Diana’s footsteps by visiting Angola in Southern Africa. Back in 1997, Diana famously visited the country and made international headlines by visiting the victims of land mines and walking courageously over a minefield.

He returned again in 2019 to retrace his mother’s footsteps once more, recreating this famous photo of the late Princess of Wales crossing a minefield. Harry recalled Diana’s bravery during his visit to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust.

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William has also continued his mother’s work with The Passage charity in the UK, which helps homeless people get off the streets for good and has been doing this “life changing” work for 40 years now.

The Duke of Cambridge recently paid tribute to the charity’s incredible work over the decades, writing: “Over the many years that I have visited The Passage, first with my mother when I was just a small boy, I have developed a great affection for you all.”

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In 2007 Prince William took on the honourable role as the president of the Royal Marsden Hospital Trust – the same organisation Diana was president for for eight years.

It’s not the only role he or Harry inherited from their late mother either, as both princes continue her charity work.

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“Every day, I know I do and I’m sure William does as well, whatever we do, wherever we are and whoever we’re with I particularly always wonder what she’d think, what she’d be doing if she was with us now,” Harry told ITN in 2010.

WATCH: A look into Diana’s life before she was royal. Gallery continues after the video!

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New look into Princess Diana’s life before royalty

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“She’d be very proud of what Harry’s done and Sentebale bearing in mind that it’s actually his own charity that he started… Hopefully she’d be really chuffed,” William once said of Harry’s efforts in creating the charity Sentebale along with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

The charity “works with local grassroots organisations to help these children – the victims of extreme poverty and Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS epidemic.” It was a cause close to Diana’s heart in her life.

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In 2007, William and Harry celebrated their mother with the aptly named Concert For Diana. The London gig, which was held at Wembley Stadium one month before the ten year anniversary of her death, was a roaring success and boasted a slew of musicians including Elton John, Duran Duran, Pharrell and Tom Jones.

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The brothers created The Diana Awards in 1999, which tries to prevent bulling and social isolation. In 2014, the organisation celebrated its 15th birthday and in a touching note penned together, the duo said: “‘We believe, when encouraged and supported, that young people have the ability to change society for the better.

“We know that our mother – in whose memory this award was established – felt the same and would be proud of its achievements to date.”

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Both Harry, William and the Duchess of Cambridge spearheaded the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which aimed to continue her inspirational humanitarian work around the world.

In 2012 the fund closed after delegating 727 grants to 471 organisation however, the trio are now the legal owners of the fund and, according the the website can now “safeguard both the Fund’s name and ensure any future income donated to the Fund is used for charitable work.”

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Outside of their charity and humanitarian work, the brothers have kept Diana’s legacy alive through their many tributes to their late mother. This year they unveiled a statue in her honour on what would have been her 60th birthday.

“Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” the brothers said in 2021.

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“Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy,” they added in a joint statement.

“Thank you to Ian Rank-Broadley, Pip Morrison and their teams for their outstanding work, to the friends and donors who helped make this happen, and to all those around the world who keep our mother’s memory alive.”

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Prince Harry and Prince William arrive at the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace

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The brothers also keep Diana’s legacy alive through their children. Hary and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex named their daughter Lilibet Diana in honour of the grandmother their baby girl will sadly never know.

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William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge also used Diana’s name as a middle name for their daughter, Princess Charlotte. The Duke of Cambridge has also revealed that he shares his own memories of his mother with his three children.

“I wouldn’t let it break me, I wanted it to make me. I wanted her to be proud of the person I’d become. I didn’t want her worried or her legacy to be, you know, that William and/or Harry were completely and utterly devastated by it,” Prince William said on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death.

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One of Prince George’s seven godparents, Julia Samuel, was an extremely close friend of Princess Diana’s and will be able to teach her godson all about his late grandmother. When George was eight – now nine – even penned a Mother’s Day letter to his late grandmother.

“Dear Granny Diana,” he wrote. “Happy happy mothers day. I love you very much and think of you always, sending lots of love from George xxxxx.”

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William proposed to Catherine with his mother’s 12-carat deep blue sapphire engagement ring, making her memory a central part of their now 11-year-long marriage. He once remarked: “Obviously she’s not going to be around to share any of the fun and excitement of it all – this was my way of keeping her close to it all.”

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The royal couple gave many nods to Diana during their spectacular 2011 nuptials, starting with the location: London’s Westminster Abbey is the same church where Diana’s funeral took place in 1997.

The stirring hymn Guide Me Thou, O Great Redeemer was sung during the nuptials, which also closed Diana’s funeral service, while Kate picked white Lily of the Valley flowers for her bouquet – the same flowers Diana used in hers!

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Best moments from Kate and William’s Royal Wedding

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“That’s what keeps us going every day – that thought of what would she be like if she was around today. It’s refreshing because we both have our own opinion of what she’d be like and ‘mad’ would be one word to describe her,” Harry once said.

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“[If she was alive] she’d be sitting here having a laugh, whether she’d be in the background sticking her tongue out or whether she’d be playing football with the children,” Harry once mused.

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“We’d like to think she’s proud of us and I hope that’s the case,” William has stated in the past, and we have a feeling that if Diana could see her boys today she would be the proudest mum around.

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