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William and Harry ‘will pay their own respects to Princess Diana’

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

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

The brothers turned to each other for solace in the wake of Diana’s death during their troubled teenage years and beyond.

Harry said of William when he turned 21: ‘Ever since our mother died, we’ve obviously been close, but he’s the only person on this earth that I really can… 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 changed beyond recognition, ravaged by a long rift.

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

The Duke was apparently angry at what he perceived as his brother’s “snobbish” attitude toward his bride, after William wondered if he should hurry.

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

After Megxit, they accuse the royal family of racism in a prime-time television interview with Oprah Winfrey and the institution of not helping Meghan when she had suicidal thoughts.

The brothers at Harry's wedding in 2018

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 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 dearly and they’d been through hell together, but added: “The relationship is space right now. And time heals all things, hopefully.’

William was furious that private family matters were being 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 convicted of dressing up as a Nazi for a “Colonials and Natives.” party.

Harry was accompanied by William when he picked out the costume at a costume shop, but there was no criticism of his older brother in the press, and Harry was struck by his own role as “the institutional scapegoat of the monarchy.”

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

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

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

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

Mr Lacey wrote: ‘The young prince began to re-evaluate his older brother’s involvement and the unfairness of William’s subsequent rose-smelling appearance. Harry felt alienated because of this.

“Friends remember ‘no-speaks’ and a pretty serious breakup between the two brothers at the moment.”

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

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

His openness about how he struggled to cope and came close to a “complete collapse” after not talking about his loss has won praise from mental health charities.

On the 20th anniversary of her death in 2017, William and Harry were side by side as they viewed the 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

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

They marked the occasion by having a statue erected in her memory.

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

Harry and Meghan will visit the UK in September and are expected to stay at Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate, within walking distance of Adelaide Cottage, the Cambridge family’s new home.

Still, a rapprochement seems unlikely, not least because of the looming prospect of the publication of Harry’s tell-all memoir, with the couples not expected to spend time together during the whirlwind journey of the Sussexes.

‘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 children, Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor.

The children of Cambridge make cards for the princess on Mother’s Day each year, while Charlotte poignantly writes, as seen in photos released last year: ‘I love you very much. Daddy misses you.’

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