King Charles Reportedly Has 'Deep Regrets' Over His Historic Parenting Move

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and it isn't uncommon for parents to look back on certain situations or decisions with new perspective and wish they had done something differently for the sake of their children. We imagine it's no different for royalty. In the case of King Charles III, there is one decision he made when his sons Harry, Duke of Sussex and William, Prince of Wales were young that he regrets (via Express).

Author Christopher Anderson, who has written a new book entitled The King: The Life of Charles III, says that Charles feels "deep regret" about having William and Harry walk behind Princess Diana's coffin when she passed away in a car crash in 1997. At the time, the boys were just 12 and 15-years-old respectively. Anderson states that this decision to have the children he shared with Diana participate in the funeral procession in this way is "something that still haunts him, probably to this day".

Why King Charles regrets this decision

It was not only up to Charles at the time of Diana's funeral to encourage William and Harry to walk behind their mother's casket as it processed through London; palace officials and even the princes' uncle, The Earl of Spencer, pushed the boys to participate (via Express). In fact, The Earl of Spencer has also since expressed regret about having convinced his nephews to make this public appearance, says author Christopher Anderson. Even so, Charles, being their father, "understands that to some extent he is responsible for [William and Harry] having to suffer through," says Anderson. 

A source of this guilt is likely the fact that William and Harry, now adults, have spoken out about how traumatic and deeply-affecting that experience was for them at the time, lending a thoughtful, grown-up lens through which their family can understand and view what they went through when they were just boys having to grieve publicly the way that they did.  

What Harry has said about the experience

In the Spring of 2021, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, gave an interview to AppleTV+, during which he spoke openly and honestly about what he remembers of walking behind his mother's coffin during her funeral (via People). He said, candidly, "For me, the thing I remember the most was the sound of the horse's hooves going along the Mall, the red brick road. By this point both of us were in shock," he said of himself and his brother Prince William. 

He went on to explain, "It was like I was outside of my body. I'm just walking along and doing what was expected of me, showing the one-tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing." He expressed the surreal feeling of holding it together as a 12-year-old when throngs of people gathered around him were weeping, saying he was thinking at the time, "This was my mum, you never even met her." 

How this affected Harry

In that same interview with Apple TV+, Harry openly stated that in the wake of his mother's tragic death, he had felt the need to try and avoid thinking about her because there was nothing he could do to bring her back in spite of his grief and his anger (via People). He said that no one around him, no one in his family "was talking about it," and so he simply decided to have his "head in the sand and just crack on."

He revealed that his thinking had been this: "I don't want to think about her because if I think about her then it's going to bring up the fact that I can't bring her back and it's just going to make me sad." He went on to say that he figured, "What's the point in thinking about something sad, what's the point of thinking about someone that you've lost and you're never going to get back again? And I just decided not to talk about it."

But now, as an adult, Harry feels talking about it is the only way to process it in a healthy fashion. He explained, "Family members have said just play the game and your life will be easier. But I've got a hell of a lot of my mum in me." He went on to say, "The only way to free yourself and break out — it's to tell the truth."