Prince Charles did not make a public acknowledgement of the anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, because he "can't afford to remind people of his role in her pain," it has been claimed.
Wednesday marked 25 years since Diana died in hospital after being injured in a car accident in a road tunnel in Paris.
Her partner, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140 in which they were travelling, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived with serious injuries.
At the time her sons William and Harry, now the Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex, were just 15 and 12 and only spoke about her publicly when they were older.
In recent years they have made a number of public appearances to commemorate her, including last summer – on what would have been their mother's 60th birthday – when they unveiled a bronze statue they commissioned of the princess in the garden of Kensington Palace.
But the Prince of Wales has rarely made a public tribute, with sources claiming this is to avoid facing criticism.
“Sanitised history, if you will,” a former aide told Yahoo News UK's royal executive editor Omid Scobie.
“To the institution, Diana will always be remembered in a way that is safe for them – a safe distance kept from everything else. It’s why you never see Charles acknowledge the anniversary of her death. Quite simply, they can't afford to remind people of his role in her pain.”
When they married in 1981, it was hoped the couple would bring in a new golden age for the monarchy, with Diana bringing a new wave of popularity to the monarchy.
Ultimately, their marriage fell apart, with Diana publicly discussing her unhappy marriage in an interview with the BBC – much to the palace's disapproval.
In 1995 – a year before her divorce – Diana said each of them had had extramarital affairs, telling Martin Bashir: "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” referring to Charles’s affair with his future wife Camilla Parker Bowles.
She also spoke of her “deep, deep, profound sadness” at the decision to end the marriage.
In a 2017 documentary, William said: “There are not many days that go by that I don’t think of her," and Harry noted that he has “a lot of grief that still needs to be let out.”
Speaking last week, Harry has said he will “share the spirit” of his mother with his children Archie and Lilibet as he marks the anniversary of her death.
Speaking after a fundraising polo match for his charity Sentebale, named in memory of his mother, he said: “I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it.
“I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her.
“Every day, I hope to do her proud. She was tireless in her work to support and destigmatise those experiencing HIV/Aids. Fittingly, her favourite flowers were forget-me-nots.”
Clarence House has declined to comment.