Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton honoured the memory of his late mother by taking their baby son Prince George to visit Diana’s family on the 16th anniversary of her death.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their little boy are said to have spent the weekend with Princess Diana‘s eldest sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and her family.
According to the Express, William, Kate and six-week-old George were seen boarding a helicopter at Belton Woods country club near Grantham – six miles from the farmhouse where Lady Sarah lives with her husband Neil, a farmer and former Guards officer.
William is said to be particularly close to his aunt, who dated Prince Charles before Diana and went on to act as her informal lady-in-waiting.
Both William and Harry spent their childhoods playing with their Spencer cousins, and in June last year, William and Kate, both 31, joined Harry at the wedding of their cousin Emily McCorquodale – Neil and Lady Sarah’s eldest child – to James Hutt.
It is not clear if Harry, 28, was also at the family gathering at the weekend. Kensington Palace declined to discuss the whereabouts of any of the young royals, nor whether they visited Earl Spencer’s shrine to Diana at Althorp, the family’s ancestral 14,000-acre estate in Northamptonshire.
In 2009, William – who was just 15 when his mother tragically passed away on 31 August 1997 – spoke for the first time about her death.
The prince, who like his brother is highly protective of Diana’s legacy, has always refused to talk about his grief in public, but made a rare exception after becoming the Royal Patron of the Child Bereavement Charity.
“Never being able to say the word ‘Mummy’ again in your life sounds like a small thing,” he said. “However, for many, including me, it’s now really just a word – hollow and evoking only memories.”
He added, “Initially, there is a sense of profound shock and disbelief that this could ever happen to you. Real grief often does not hit home until much later. For many it is a grief never entirely lost.”