When Prince William married Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011, millions of viewers around the globe—and a lucky 1,900 guests—watched the pomp and circumstance of the pair’s big day. And though one important person may have been missing from the crowds, Prince William reveals in a new interview that her presence was very much with the newlyweds.
“Beforehand, I had a lot of time to think about it,” William said of the late Princess Diana’s absence from the wedding in a candid interview for new documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “When it came to the wedding, I did really feel that she was there. There’s times when you look to someone or something for strength, and I very much felt she was there for me.”
William further elaborated, “There were times where you looked at someone or something for strength, and I very much felt she was there for me.”
William and Kate’s royal wedding at the famed Westminster Abbey was marked by down-to-earth details that reflected the couple’s easy-going personalities. Though Middleton’s dress was an enviable unique design by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, the then-future Duchess of Cambridge opted to do her own makeup.
Numerous subtle reminders of Diana were peppered throughout the Duke and Duchess’ wedding day, including Middleton’s stunning diamond and sapphire engagement ring, which Prince Charles originally gave to then-Lady Diana.
Middleton’s sheer veil, which she wore down for the ride to the ceremony, was also reminiscent of Diana’s own on her wedding day to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. (By contrast, however, Middleton’s gown did not feature the dramatic 25-foot train that Diana’s did.)
And also noteworthy was the fact that both Middleton and the late princess opted to take the word “obey” out of their vows, pledging instead to “love him, comfort him, honor and keep him.”
Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. Her sons, William and Harry, were just 15 and 12 when Diana passed away, but both have spoken out over the years about their memories of her and how they continue to miss her now nearly 20 years later.
In the same documentary, Harry recalls what a great hugger their mother was. “She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible,” he said. “Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs that she used to give us, and I miss that, I miss that feeling, I miss having that mother to be able to give you those hugs and give you that compassion that I think everybody needs.”
In another segment of the documentary, William talks about how he wants to make sure Diana’s legacy is kept alive for his two young children. “It’s hard, because obviously Catherine didn’t know her so she cannot really provide that level of detail, so I do, regularly putting George and Charlotte to bed, talk about her and just try and remind them that there are two grandmothers, there were two grandmothers, in their lives,” William said. “So it’s important that they know who she was and that she existed.”