Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, formally separated in December 1992, but it took almost four years to finalize the much-disputed divorce. Their lawyers haggled over money and access, but one of the most painful disagreements involved Diana's title (opens in new tab). That's when Prince William–just barely a teenager—tried to comfort his wounded mom.
As the mother of the future heir, the divorcee wanted to keep the styling "Her Royal Highness." Even Queen Elizabeth II agreed to the condition, but Charles was "adamant" about denying his ex-wife the privilege, according to the New York Times (opens in new tab).
The loss of "HRH" meant Diana would technically curtsey to her own children, as well as Charles. Although she'd remain a member of British nobility, the Princess lost her formal connection to the royal family, including her sons.
Prince William was just 14 years old (opens in new tab) at the time, but he knew the change severely hurt his mom. Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell, later shared how the young prince tried to soothe her "distress" in his book, A Royal Duty (opens in new tab).
"She told me how he had sat with her one night when she was upset over the loss of HRH, put his arms around her and said, 'Don't worry, Mummy. I will give it back to you one day when I am king,'" he wrote (opens in new tab).
Over two decades later, it's no surprise the future monarch made such a sweet promise. Diana would pass away only a year later, but Prince William has continued to honor her legacy (opens in new tab) ever since. Now more than ever (opens in new tab), the Duke of Cambridge speaks out about his loss. "I still miss my mother every day," he said recently (opens in new tab). "And it's 20 years after she died."
Follow Marie Claire on Facebook (opens in new tab) for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.
24 Hours With John Legend
The singer, record producer, husband, and entrepreneur reveals how he maintains youthful, glowing skin.
By Deena Campbell
What Is Co-Washing, and How Do You Do It? Experts Weigh In
Skip the shampoo.
By Gabrielle Ulubay
Digital Lavender Is About to Be the Biggest Color of the Year
Barbiecore got a "Lavender Haze"-inspired makeover.
By Julia Marzovilla
Sarah Hyland and Adam Devine Play 'How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?'
The 'Modern Family' stars reunited for the 'Pitch Perfect' spinoff series.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The 78 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes of All Time
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Super Rare Photos of Queen Elizabeth as a Young Woman
From childhood snapshots to portraits as a young princess, beautiful and rare photos of the late Queen Elizabeth as a young woman.
By Mehera Bonner
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla's Relationship: A Timeline
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has ascended to the throne as king.
By The Editors
Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained
And yes—Harry and Archie are still in the line of succession.
By Andrea Park
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J Igoe
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Who Is Jonathan Owens, Simone Biles's Fiancé and NFL Player?
"The easiest yes!" Simone wrote about the couple's engagement.
By The Editors