The Duke of Cambridge was only 15 years old when Princess Diana died in 1997.
Prince William spoke from the heart on Tuesday during a moving speech about loss and grief at the opening of the Manchester Arena memorial. The 39-year-old Duke of Cambridge got emotional as he reflected on the death of his mother, Princess Diana, while sharing the importance of remembering loved ones who have died.
“For Catherine and I, it is very important that we are with you here today. To remember the 22 lives so brutally taken," William said to those in attendance, referring to the bombing at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert which took the lives of nearly two dozen people. "To acknowledge the hundreds of lives that were irrevocably changed and to pay tribute to the resilience of this great city. I remember only too well the shock and grief on the faces of those I met when I visited Manchester in the days following the atrocity.”
William continued, noting he knows the “the pain and the trauma” from the tragic event "has not gone away" despite the time that has passed.
"As someone who lives with his own grief, I also know that what often matters most to the bereaved is that those we have lost are not forgotten," he said. "There is comfort in remembering. In acknowledging that, while taken horribly soon, they lived. They changed our lives."
“They were loved, and they are loved. It is why memorials such as the Glade of Light are so important," William added. "Why Catherine and I so wanted to be amongst you today. And we remember the entirety of the Manchester community who responded in the most heart-warming and life-affirming ways possible to support those affected.”
The Duke of Cambridge went on to praise the people of Manchester, saying, "This was an attack on an evening of music. And it occurred in a city that has given the world so many songs to sing. When the people of Manchester gathered to pay respects to the victims just days after the atrocity, you told the world that your music would not be silenced. Instead, you raised your voices together and you sang a song of love that was written by some of this city's most famous sons."
"On that day you told each other that you would not look back in anger," he continued. "And you showed the world the true heart of this extraordinary place. So, when we come to this memorial let's look back with love for those we lost."
With his wife, Kate Middelton, by his side, William concluded his heartfelt message. "Let's look back with love for the people who cared for and protected this community," he said. "And let's look back with love for the ongoing strength of the great city of Manchester."
Princess Diana died on Aug. 31, 1997. William was just 15 years old at the time.