When Prince Harry turned 36 in 2020, it was an equally celebratory and reflective moment for the newly independent royal. At age 36, his beloved mother Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident involving paparazzi, taking her from young sons Prince William and Harry far too soon. A doting mother, Diana was often seen bonding with young William and Harry, her two beloved boys with Prince Charles, and while Diana’s time as a royal may have been complicated, marked by media scandals and her ultimate divorce from Charles in 1996, her legacy as a mother is not. On this day, we’re honoring Diana’s best moments as a mom, as Harry will always remember her: from ski trips to water slides, first days of school, and more photos of Diana and the boys that we’ll never forget.
From his decision to step back from the royal family with Meghan Markle to his dedication to carrying on her charity work in Lesotho and beyond, it’s clear how much Harry has been influenced by Diana’s own path as a royal. And as he and William have taken on fatherhood, they’ve only been more reminded of aspects of their childhood with Diana that they’d like to carry on.
For William, that’s meant raising George, Charlotte, and Louis in Kensington Palace, where he and young Harry grew up with Diana, while for Harry, that’s meant raising Archie out of the public eye and giving him as much normalcy as possible, another goal of Diana’s throughout. Looking back on these photos of the three of them, we know Diana would be so proud of both her boys — and hope that, no matter what their differences, they’ll always find their way back to this close bond as brothers.
Harry and William have have, in many ways, devoted their legacies to ensuring Diana’s effect on the royal family would not be forgotten. These photos will remind you just how close Diana was with both her boys — we recommend getting out the tissues now.
A version of this article was originally published in August 2020.