He’s ready to talk. It took Prince William a while to feel comfortable about opening up about his mother’s death — something he’ll be doing in BBC’s A Royal Team Talk: Tackling Mental Health, airing Sunday, May 19. An insider told Life & Style exclusively about how he came to terms with his grieving process after the passing of Princess Diana.
“Prince William is opening up the difficulty he had dealing with his mother’s death to create awareness for the mental health campaigns he’s working on,” a source explained. “William keeps his feelings to himself a lot more than Harry. He’s more reserved and had trouble talking about Diana’s death for years after the fatal car accident. He suffered from bouts of depression and felt he couldn’t really talk to anyone apart from his brother.”
According to the insider, the 36-year-old overcame his apprehension to communicate for a specific reason: “He wants those suffering from mental health problems to know they’re not alone and that even royals, like everyone else, have their issues.”
Luckily, Wills has a supportive family right by his side to help him through it all, including his wife, Kate Middleton. “Kate, who comes from a close and loving family, has helped William become more in tune with his feelings,” the insider revealed. “Open communication plays a huge part in their family life and he’s teaching George, Charlotte and Louis to express themselves freely.”
It’s clear that the Prince is now seeing things with open eyes regarding his grief. “I think when you are bereaved at a very young age, anytime really, but particularly at a young age — I can resonate closely to that — you feel pain like no other pain,” the Duke of Cambridge told soccer pros during a discussion for the BBC special.
“And you know that in your life it’s going to be very difficult to come across something that is going to be an even worse pain than that,” the father-of-three continued. “But it also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved.”
That kinship between those who are grieving was clearly a key component in communicating his struggle. “You instantly, when you talk to someone else, you can almost see it in their eyes sometimes. It’s a weird thing to say, but somebody — particularly me — someone who’s desperate to talk about bereavement, you can kind of pick up on it quite quickly,” he explained.
“They want to talk about it. But they want you to go first, they want you to say, ‘It’s OK,’ they want to have your permission,” he added. “In that particular conversation, one-on-one, it’s OK to talk about bereavement.”
He even linked the reservation to confront his grief to being English — and made some fair points. “I think particularly in Britain as well, we are nervous about our emotions. We are a bit embarrassed sometimes,” he said. “The British stiff upper lip thing, that’s great and we need to have that occasionally when times are really hard. There has to be a moment for that. But otherwise, we’ve got to relax a little bit and be able to talk about our emotions because we’re not robots.”
With reporting by Natalie Posner.