Britain’s Prince Harry has said the memory of his mother Diana’s death more than two decades ago was still incredibly raw and he would not be bullied into “playing the game” with the media that he believes killed her.
Princess Diana, who became one of the most photographed women on the planet after she married into the British royal family, died in a car crash in 1997 after being followed through the streets of Paris by photographers.
Earlier this month Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, began legal action against a newspaper in response to what the couple described as “bullying” by some sections of the British media. At the time, Harry said the treatment of Markle was reminiscent of their approach to his mother.
“Everything that she went through and what happened to her is incredibly raw every single day and that is not being me being paranoid. That is just me not wanting a repeat of the past,” Harry told ITV in an interview that was filmed during a tour of Africa earlier this month and aired on Sunday.
“Part of this job … means putting on a brave face and turning a cheek to a lot of this stuff,” he said. “All we need to do is focus on being real, and focus on being the people that we are and standing up for what we believe in. I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.”
Harry is also suing the publishers of Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper and the Daily Mirror over allegations of phone-hacking.
Describing what happened to his mother as “a wound that festers,” Harry said: “Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back.”
Asked about newspaper reports of a rift with his older brother, William, Harry said, “inevitably stuff happens” as part of the role and the pressure the family is under.
“We will always be brothers. We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him as I know he will always be there for me,” he said. “As brothers you have good days you have bad days.”
Markle’s proceedings against the Mail on Sunday newspaper are over the publication of a private letter that her lawyers said was “unlawful” and part of a “campaign by this media group to publish false and deliberately derogatory stories about her.”
Asked during an interview for the same ITV documentary about how she had found the last year, the American former actress said it had been hard, and that she “didn’t get it” when British friends had warned her about tabloid newspapers when she had first met Harry.
“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair, and that is the part that is really hard to reconcile,” Markle said.
“When people are saying things that are just untrue and they have been told they are untrue, but they are allowed to still say them, I don’t know anybody in the world that would feel like that is OK, and that is different from just scrutiny.”