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British Royal Family

“I ran out of oxygen”: Princess Diana’s brother on delivering his heartbreaking eulogy

And he’s revealed his motivation behind the speech’s most iconic line.

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
Earl Spencer, the younger brother of Princess Diana, has opened up about the gut wrenching reality of delivering the eulogy at her funeral.
The speech, which has gone down in history as one of the world’s most memorable (and most poignant), described the ‘People’s Princess’ as “the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty” and “a symbol of selfless humanity.” It also famously described Diana as "the most hunted person of the modern age."
Speaking to the iconic line, he told People: "it summed up so much of the anger I felt towards those who had done that to her.”
Earl Spencer also spoke about his two nephews, Prince William and Prince Harry.
"She'd left me as guardian," he explained. "I was looking directly at William and Harry across her coffin. In the final paragraph I had run out of energy, almost out of oxygen. I had to punch each syllable out of the base of my stomach."
Prince William was just 15 and his brother Prince Harry only 12, when their beloved mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was tragically killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.
She was just 36.
WATCH: Earl Spencer delivers his history-making eulogy. Post continues...
Harry, now 32, recently opened up about the heartbreak he experienced on the day of his mother’s highly-publicised funeral.
In an interview with Newsweek, an American magazine, the much-loved royal recalled the moment he was forced to walk behind his late mother’s coffin alongside his older brother Prince William, his father Prince Charles, his grandfather Prince Philip and his uncle, Earl Spencer, in a funeral procession through the streets.
“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he told the publication. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances.”
He added: “I don’t think it would happen today.”
Harry walked alongside his older brother Prince William, his father Prince Charles, his grandfather Prince Philip and his uncle, Earl Spencer.
Over two million people lined the streets to Westminster Abbey in a bid to say their final goodbye to the People’s Princess.
Speaking to his rebellious phase (including memorable stunts such as wearing a Nazi costume in 2005 or playing a game of billiards naked in Las Vegas in 2012), the royal explained he’s learnt how to live in the spotlight and even hopes to used his profile for good.
“My mother died when I was very young. I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people, and decided to use my role for good,” he said. “I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl, but I now manage it better. I still have a naughty streak too, which I enjoy and is how I relate to those individuals who have got themselves into trouble.”
Princess Diana died 20 years ago next month.

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