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Harry says he only cried once after mother’s death in first interview on memoir

Harry speaks about his memories of meeting mourners following the death of his mother.

08 January 2023

The Duke of Sussex has said he only cried once after the death of his mother, and has described feelings of guilt in one of a series of interviews ahead of the publication of his memoir.

In a clip from Harry: The Interview, which will air on ITV at 9pm on Sunday, Harry speaks about being unable to show any emotion when meeting mourners following the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997.

Duke of Sussex autobiography – Spare
In the ITV interview, Harry also says that he cried once in the wake of his mother’s death – at her burial (Tony Harris/PA)

He also admits to feeling “some guilt” when walking among the gathered crowds outside Kensington Palace, saying the only time he cried was at his mother’s burial.

He tells presenter Tom Bradby: “Everyone knows where they were and what they were doing the night my mother died.

“I cried once, at the burial, and you know I go into detail about how strange it was and how actually there was some guilt that I felt, and I think William felt as well, by walking around the outside of Kensington Palace.”

Harry describes feeling the mourners’ tears on his hands when he shook them.

“There were 50,000 bouquets of flowers to our mother and there we were shaking people’s hands, smiling,” he says.

“I’ve seen the videos, right, I looked back over it all. And the wet hands that we were shaking, we couldn’t understand why their hands were wet, but it was all the tears that they were wiping away.

“Everyone thought and felt like they knew our mum, and the two closest people to her, the two most loved people by her, were unable to show any emotion in that moment.”

The interview is the first of four broadcast appearances over the coming days, with Harry also speaking to Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes on CBS News on Sunday night, Michael Strahan of Good Morning America on Monday and Stephen Colbert on the Late Show on CBS on Wednesday morning UK time.

A string of revelations have already been leaked from the memoir, Spare, which is due to be published on Tuesday.

The book, which was accidentally released early in Spain, includes personal details of Harry’s love life, drug-taking and rifts within his family.

Harry says in the book he thinks that he is unable to cry in public because of his family’s preference for not showing emotion.

Duke of Sussex autobiography – Spare
Harry says that he and William were unable to show any emotion as they met the mourners (ITV)

According to the Telegraph, Harry writes: “I disliked the touch of those hands. What’s more, I disliked how they made me feel: guilty.

“Why was there all that crying from people when I neither cried nor had cried?

“I wanted to cry, and I had tried, because my mother’s life had been so sad… but I couldn’t… not a drop.

“Perhaps I had learnt too well, had absorbed too thoroughly the family maxim that crying was never an option – never.”

Harry has come under fire for some of the claims in the memoir, including that the Prince of Wales physically attacked him and called his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, “difficult” and “abrasive”.

Friends of the pair said that William was keeping quiet about the book “for the good of his family and the country”.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, one friend said: “William is a sitting duck because Harry knows he isn’t going to retaliate. How many shots can you take at a sitting duck?

“It’s cruel, cowardly and so sad for William to keep taking the punches. He’s keeping quiet for the good of his family and the country.”

Review of the Year 2022
Harry has come under fire for disclosures reportedly published in the memoir (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The same friend adds that William is “burning” on the inside.

Another friend told the paper that William is thinking strategically, as he follows the example of his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II.

“We know how closely he followed his grandmother’s example, and the institutional response may win the day over the personal,” the friend said.

“But he is staunchly protective of his own family, and he’s not just going to roll over.”

The Sun has reported that as well as the first alleged physical attack by his brother in 2019, Harry also claims that a “steaming” and “shouting” William grabbed his shirt as the pair held peace talks with their father in the gardens of Frogmore Cottage in 2021.

Other controversial claims include that William and Kate encouraged him to wear the Nazi uniform that sparked outrage in 2005, and that he killed 25 Taliban while serving in Afghanistan.

The Telegraph reported Harry said flying six missions during his second tour of duty on the front line resulted in “the taking of human lives” of which he was neither proud nor ashamed.

In a previously released trailer for the ITV interview, Harry says he is publishing his memoirs because he does not know “how staying silent is ever going to make things better”.

In another clip, he says he wants to reconcile with his family – but that it cannot happen without “some accountability”.

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