Why Prince William and Prince Harry’s Last Phone Call with Princess Diana Still Haunts Them

The phone call they’ll regret for the rest of their lives.

Britain Princess Diana, London, United Kingdom - 30 Aug 2017AP/Shutterstock

On August 30, 1997, Princess Diana called to check on her sons Prince William, 15, and Prince Harry, 12. The boys were vacationing in Scotland with family while Diana was on a summer getaway in France with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed. But as kids can be, a phone call with their mum paled in comparison to playing with their cousins. “Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘see you later,’” Prince William said in a film interview. Little did the princes know that it would be the last time they’d ever hear their mother’s voice again. Shortly after midnight, Diana died in a tragic car accident. Here’s how Queen Elizabeth II found out about Princess Diana’s death.

Twenty years later, in the 2017 documentary, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, the two princes reflect on the regrets they have about that very phone call mere hours before their mother’s death.

“If I’d known now what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it,” Prince William told the filmmakers. “But that phone call sticks in my mind quite heavily.”

The pangs of guilt and regret still eat away at his younger brother as well. “Looking back on it now, it’s incredibly hard. I’ll have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life,” Prince Harry said in the documentary. “How differently that conversation could have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling her life was going to be taken that night.” These are the conspiracy theories that still surround Princess Diana’s death.

Despite their anguish about taking the last chat with their mother for granted, the boys continue to keep Princess Diana’s legacy alive. In fact, Prince William will often gush about his mother to his children as he tucks them away in bed. He even has them call her the sweetest name – Granny Diana. “Just to remind them that there were two grandmothers in their lives,” Prince William said in the interview. Next, find out the secrets about Princess Diana no one knew about until after her death.

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Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.