Matt Lauer: Your mom used to say that one of her main concerns for you two was that you live as normal lives as possible.
Prince William: Um-hm.
Prince Harry: Um-hm
Matt Lauer: So ten years later do you think she would be happy or saddened by the state of normalcy?
Prince Harry: I think she'd be happy in the way that we're going about it but slightly unhappy about the way the other people were going about it as in saying, "Look: you're not normal, so stop trying to be normal," which is very much what we get a lot. You know it's like stop trying to be normal. You've got certain responsibilities. Which obviously we do and we know we have certain responsibilities. But within our private lives and within certain other parts of our life we want to be as normal as possible. And yes it's hard because to a certain respect we never will be normal.
Prince William: You may be abnormal. I'm pretty normal.
For them, "normal" will always be a relative term. Prince William, 24, heir to the British throne, the future king of England. Harry, his kid brother, 22, also known as Harry, Prince of the United Kingdom.
They are the grandsons of Queen Elizabeth, sons of Prince Charles and, of course, the late Princess Diana. The world has watched them grow from babes in their mother's arms, to proper English schoolboys, to grief stricken young men walking with their father behind Diana's casket. But they've never done an interview together for an American, never sat down and answered unscripted questions -- until now.
Meet two brothers, down to earth, at ease, and constantly ribbing each other.
Matt Lauer: Let me talk a little bit about your image in terms of in the United States separately.Prince William: We have an image? That's news to me.Prince Harry: It can't be good.Matt Lauer: All right, William, you're seen probably as studious, thoughtful, dutiful, proper.Prince Harry: Was that "dutiful" or "beautiful"?Prince William: Proper.Matt Lauer: Dutiful.Prince William: And beautiful.Matt Lauer: Dutiful and beautiful.Prince William: Just, just…Matt Lauer: So Harry, how close is that in describing your brother?Prince William: Now, be honest. Don't just come out and go "It's all rubbish."Prince Harry: Well, I think it’s, you can't really ask me because I'm his brother, so I see a different side of him. But, you know… Matt Lauer: So how would you describe him?Prince Harry: No, you don't want to know that. No, I'm sure that's fantastic that the American people think that of William. I think there's, I mean, as long, as long as we want to be fools, we can…Matt Lauer: Well, what is the thing that -- that people should know about William that they don't know?Prince William: Just a legend. Prince Harry: No, I don't know. He enjoys himself more than people think. You know, he works very hard. He's definitely the more intelligent one of the two of us.Prince Harry: As I'm sure that's the next point that's going to come up.Matt Lauer: I wasn't going to say that at all.Prince Harry: What do you mean "don't put myself down"? You're knocking me down the whole time!Matt Lauer: So are you telling me, William, that Harry is not a little more volatile, carefree, a bit of a wild thing?Prince William: Oh, he's a wild thing, all right. Yeah.
William and Harry met with Matt in April, at Clarence House, their official residence in London. They discussed their life in the media fishbowl, their friendships and their love lives. But for them, the most important thing to discuss, the reason they agreed to talk, is the memory of their mother, Diana, and their plans to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death.
Matt Lauer: As I was leaving the States telling people I coming to talk to you, as you're about to mark the tenth anniversary of your mom's death I can't tell you how many people said, "Wow, has it been ten years?" That it seems like two years or it seems like three years. How has the time gone by for you two?Prince Harry: Personally really, really slowly actually. It's weird because I think when she passed away there was never that time, there was never that sort of lull. There was never that sort of peace and quiet for any of us due to the fact that her face was always splattered on the paper the whole time. Over the last ten years I personally feel as though she has been, she’s always there. She's always been a constant reminder to both of us and everybody else. And therefore I think when you're being reminded about it does take a lot longer and it's a lot slower. Matt Lauer: Does it feel the same way for you?Prince William: Yeah. I mean, again just for my personal opinion when you knew somebody or someone that important to you, you always think about you know. I mean, straight after it happened we were always thinking about it. Not a day goes by when I don't think about it once in the day. And so for us it’s been very slow and it's a lot, it has been a long time.
A long time that began for William and Harry on the last night of August 1997. In Paris, Diana was riding in a hired car, being chased by paparazzi. Her chauffeur, who was drunk, drove much too fast. The car smashed into a concrete pillar. Princess Diana, beautiful, glamorous -- their mom -- was dead at 36.
Since then, William and Harry have lived through a decade of obsessive media coverage, of endless conspiracy theories, of official and unofficial inquiries that continue to this day.
Prince Harry: You know when people think about it they think about her death. They think about you know how wrong it was. They think whatever happened. I don't know, for me personally what happened you know that night, whatever happened in that tunnel -- no one will ever know. And I'm sure people will always think about it the whole time.Matt Lauer: Have you stopped wondering?Prince Harry: I'll never stop wondering about that.Matt Lauer: So then in some ways you probably understand the public fascination with this inquiry.Prince William: Yeah, but at the same time there's a lot of people feeding it, and unnecessarily, I might add. You know -- to the whole sort of conspiracy side of things. And there's always rumors and stuff that were brought up the whole time.Matt Lauer: Do you see a time in your own imagination when this cycle of fascination ends?Prince Harry: I can't really see it ever ending. I think that maybe certain sort of times when there's going to be peace and quiet when there's actually nothing to write about or when they're working towards something new. But I think people will always have a fascination about her. Matt Lauer: As we come to the tenth anniversary, obviously the people will still write things. But people will also stop at ten years and re-examine her life and probably her death. So in some ways is this your attempt this summer to take charge of that, to kind of get it under your own control?Prince William: Yeah, basically; we always wanted to do something for her.
Prince Harry: You know, it still upsets me now, the fact that we didn't have as much of a chance as other children to spend time with her. Matt Lauer: It occurred to me in looking back that your mom lived three separate lives all at the same time. She was a mom. She was a princess, arguably the most famous woman in the entire world. And she was also a ... What do you remember most in terms of her work for other and helping other people?Prince William: She didn't want praise for it. She did it because she cared. And it was a massive quality of hers which was why she became so big. She wanted to give so much love and give so much care to people who really needed it.
Princess Diana was a champion of many causes, like relief for victims of landmines and shelter for the homeless. She was one of the first prominent people to reach out to AIDS patients, literally.
Matt Lauer: Was there a time in your lives when you were younger that your folks sat you down and talked about the responsibility of helping others? Did you have that kind of a talk?Prince William: Not as formal as you put it, but you know it was always a topic. You get onto a certain subject and its then like, well you know, there are certain things that you have to do that are really difficult. And no one wants to do but you've got to do them. Or that there's all these sort of life lessons. You know you've got to take responsibility for self and for other people. All the sorts of things you talk about as families.Matt Lauer: As young guys though, I mean, what about sports, what about girls and all this stuff. How did that come, how did that responsibility feel to you?Prince Harry: Well, I think it all came as the same package. I mean without sounding cheesy it was just sort of when we're around our mother. It would just come out in conversation about you know what she'd been doing that day or how she felt, how we were feeling at school and stuff like this. Matt Lauer: So it wasn't as much what she said. It's just the way she lived.Prince William: It's the way…Matt Lauer: You learned by osmosis.Prince Harry: It's the way she was the whole time. She was doing so much more behind the scenes.
They say their mom didn't only stick up for causes she valued; she stuck up for the people she valued.
Prince William: I learned about how she'd always keep an eye on people who worked for her or people she knew who were friends; she always used to keep a little eye on what their lives, the ups and downs. She'd always be there on the downs for her friends. She was massively strong like that and gave us both reservoirs of strength.
In the royal family, child-rearing is often left to nannies and tutors. But Diana was a hands-on mother, showering the boys with love and protecting them from the cameras that seemed to follow her everywhere.
Matt Lauer: As a mom -- what are your greatest memories? Prince Harry: You've got to understand we were so young. I mean, I was twelve. He was fourteen.Prince William: Fourteen, yeah.Prince Harry: Fourteen.Matt Lauer: Yeah.Prince Harry: Fifteen and you know, it still upsets me now, the fact that we didn't have much of a chance as…Matt Lauer: Right.Prince Harry: …as children to sort of spend time with her. But the time we did spend with her was amazing and as a mother, as anybody would say about their mother, just amazing.
Some of their memories, anyone can relate to. Like the time their mom took them to Disney world.
Prince William: Everywhere we went, everyone was really sweet to us. But you know one of the things that we kept sort of joking about was about how many times we were told to watch our heads and mind our step.Prince Harry: In many ways.Prince William: She said, "Watch your step."Prince Harry: Have a nice day.Prince William: "Have a nice day," all this sort of stuff. And it was classic, we had a really good fun time.
We also asked about something else we'd read -- Diana’s nickname for William, the future king of England.
Matt Lauer: She used to call you "Wombat." Which is cute…Prince William: Yeah.Matt Lauer: …when you're seven.Prince William: Yeah.Matt Lauer: I guess you don't want your mates in the pub going, "Hey Wombat, how are you?"Prince William: It kind of stuck with me. I can't get rid of it now.Matt Lauer: Well where did that come from?Prince William: It began when I was two. I've been rightfully told because I can't remember back that far. But when we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that's the local animal. So I just basically got called that. Not because I look like a wombat. Or maybe I do.Matt Lauer: Does it make you cringe now?Prince Harry: You know what it was. He was still crawling at six. Matt Lauer: He was?Prince Harry: He still couldn't walk. He was still, lazy.Matt Lauer: So all right just get him back. What's his nickname?Prince William: Oh, Ginger. Whatever. You can call him whatever you want. Most of them I can't call in front of here. You know, a bit rude. He's got plenty.Matt Lauer: Ginger?Prince Harry: I know exactly. You're so surprised as I am. I don't think I'm Gin...Prince William: Apart from the fact you are.Prince Harry: Shall we not? Let's not.
Cute kids nicknamed Wombat and Ginger who've grown up into polo-playing princes who, as young adults, understand better than ever the constant pressure their mother faced from the ever present cameras.
Prince Harry: She wasn't always herself in the camera. She was much more natural behind the scenes when there was no one else there.Prince William: Yeah.Prince Harry: And she could be herself. It was...Matt Lauer: Did you notice that when by the way you would see coverage and you'd see her on camera and say, "That's not quite mom?"Prince Harry: Well, she was; I don't know whether it's the right thing to say. But she was quite good at acting. If you know what I mean. She wasn't acting as though trying to be somebody that she wasn't. But very much trying to be as normal as she could in front of the cameras which she hated so much.
Prince William: It was the enormity of the occasion and the pressure and all eyes on, as it were. You just felt, wherever you went, people were watching you just because, you know, they were interested to see how you react. Prince William: There's a lot of times that she was very sad because she'd been chased down the street by guys on motor bikes and stuff like this. Matt Lauer: Did she ever sit you down and talk about the fame and the weight that it presented?Prince Harry: It was obvious.Matt Lauer: Yeah.Prince Harry: For both of us it was just so obvious when she comes back from doing whatever she'd been doing whether it was tennis and she'd been chased down the road or doing public engagement. It was clear to see that the pressure that she was under sometimes, depending on where she'd been and what she'd been doing.
They learned early in life that the press could be cruel.
As much as Diana's fairy-tale wedding to Prince Charles had captivated the world, their bitter separation and divorce made for even juicier headlines. Reporters followed Diana everywhere, documented her every romantic liaison and scrutinized her in ways few people could endure.
Prince William: I really remember one story in particular that was just quite hard for her to deal with was -- was when she was criticized -- personally about her body. And someone had said something about you know she'd have cellulite or something like that. And I remember that for a woman you know in the public eye and she tried you know she's so hard, very glamorous and meant a lot.Prince Harry: Always in the gym...Prince William: Yeah and always in the gym. You know but for any woman I imagine it's outrageous that you know these people sit behind their desks and comment on it. And you know there were many times that we just sort of you know had to cheer up and tell her that she was you know the best thing ever.
But they could only cheer her up so much. In 1993, Diana announced she was cutting back on her charity appearances. She just couldn't stand the media crush. But the ugly details of the royal split soon spilled into public view.
In 1994, when William was 12, and Harry was 9, their father, Prince Charles, admitted in a TV interview that while he was married to Diana, he'd carried on an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. A year later, Diana gave her own interview to the BBC, confessing her bulimia, her own adultery and her acute awareness of Camilla.
A royal soap opera that assured the press would keep hounding Diana, literally until the moment of her death. Afterward, the world mourned her. Thousands of people left bouquets, stuffed animals and personal notes at the gates of her London palace. William and Harry, just 15 and 12 at the time, walked behind her casket before millions of people. What was it like to be on the inside, looking out?
Prince Harry: After our mother's death, there was so much of us being in the public. And then being seeing stuff on TV and reading stuff saying, "Oh, they show no emotion," that sort of stuff. You know, that's our public side? If we don't feel comfortable pouring our eyes out in front of thousands of people, then that's our problem. You know, we got each other to talk to.Matt Lauer: It's also your right.Prince Harry: Yeah, well, exactly. You know, people can portray that as much as they want. But we've got each other to talk to.Matt Lauer: I remember in the months following there was this kind of cry to the media, "Leave the boys and give them time." Did you feel that that worked? Did you feel that you were given a break for a while?Prince William: It didn't really matter, you know, whether they did, in a way. Because it was just the enormity of the occasion and the pressure and all eyes on, as it were. You just felt, wherever you went, people were watching you, just because, you know, they were interested to see how you react or what you're thinking because of that. And that was quite hard. I think at the end of the day, the media, you know, you just, you just shut that out. Matt Lauer: In the days after your mom died I do remember consciously thinking that it was good that you had each other that you weren't only children. That you could lean on each other. Have you talked about that?Prince William: Yeah.Prince Harry: Well, yeah, of course we have. We are both very grateful that, you know, each of us were there as a shoulder to cry on if we needed to.
The news media for the most part kept a respectful distance as William graduated from Eton, England's premier private school, then went on to St. Andrews University in Scotland. Harry, too, went to Eton, then to Sandhurst Military Academy. William also attended Sandhurst after college, graduating after his younger brother. Both now serve in the military.
But the cameras were never far away, looking for hints as to how the boys got along with their father, Prince Charles. He'd been criticized while Diana was alive, for being distant with his sons. Was he more affectionate now? And what about Charles' new wife, Camilla? His every appearance with her was studied for insights into royal family dynamics.
As William and Harry reached adulthood, the spotlight on them sometimes grew white hot. Harry in particular has been burned more than once. When he was 17, an experiment with marijuana landed him on the front page. He's been photographed in rowdy scenes at fancy nightclubs, making many a headline writer's day. In 2005, he landed on the front page once again when he showed up at a costume party in a Nazi uniform, an embarrassing incident for which he issued a formal apology.
Prince William: You know, Harry's had…Prince Harry: Careful what you say.Prince William: …his fair share of hard time by the media. And at the end of the day, no matter what you think, the only person you're ever going to get to know to be able to form that opinion is him. No matter what you read or what you see, you're never going to know someone unless you actually get to meet them and talk to them properly. That's what I say about everyone. Prince Harry: That's actually the most amusing point is meeting somebody and them going, "You're so not what I thought you were." And to both of us on to, you know, to our father, to everybody. You're not what I thought you were, and, "Well, what did you think?" "Oh, I best not say it to your face," like this. Well, thanks a lot.Matt Lauer: I hope you mean that they're pleasantly surprised and not disappointed by you.Prince Harry: Well, it's not. It's because they believe what they read, which is...Matt Lauer: Right.Prince Harry: You know, God knows what is said in the papers that we don't read about that, you know, it's just poisonous. Matt Lauer: If you look at a Madonna or you look at a Michael Jordan -- incredibly famous at a certain period of their lives. But there will come a time in their lives where people will look at them on the street and go, "He used to be famous." Michael Jordan used to play basketball. You two are going to be famous every day of your lives.Prince William: Well…Prince Harry: There's a difference.Prince William: …we don't know about that; maybe.Matt Lauer: Well I mean you will always be holding the position you hold.Prince Harry: But I think it's very different when you're famous for sport, famous for this and this. You know we were born into it. If you're born into it I think it's normal to feel as though you don't really want it, if that makes sense. Whereas other people have got the fame whether they want it or, but...Matt Lauer: They choose it.Prince Harry: …they choose it, or they're just so naturally talented at a sport that that's what comes with it and they've got to deal with it, like David Beckham.Prince William: But he likes selling himself. So he's fine with that. Matt Lauer: But is it daunting to think about how long this is probably going to last for you?Prince William: Again, you just don't want to, you don't really think about it, you know? You just take every day as it comes and -- and get on with stuff.Matt Lauer: Do you ever get in a situation where you were in school or you're in a military and you befriend somebody or, maybe more importantly, they befriend you. And you start to wonder, "Do they like me because I'm Harry or because I'm William or because I'm that Harry and that William?"Prince William: It goes through your mind every time you meet someone new, every time you go out and meet some people or whatever. And it's one thing I'm really sort of quite guarded about. And I know Harry is as well.
Prince William: I don't want to be liked by someone just because of who I am. You know, I don't want the sycophantic, you know, people hanging around, you know? Matt Lauer: But you can tell those people right off the bat, can't you?Prince William: You can, yeah. Although some of them are…Prince Harry: Yeah, you can…Prince William: …are better than others.Prince Harry: …some of them are good at playing along.Matt Lauer: Because obviously there's also a lot to lose if someone befriends you. You've got a lot of people out there who want to make money.Prince Harry: But at the same time, you’ve got to understand that it's just as hard for our friends as it is for us. There's a massive element of trust. You look surprised when I say that. But the reason I say that is because our friends have to put up with a lot when it comes to us.Matt Lauer: So the baggage is two-sided.Prince William: There's a lot of baggage that comes with us, trust me, a lot of baggage.Matt Lauer: That's a whole other subject, right.Prince Harry: Talk about yourself.
Even more complicated than making friends is having girlfriends, as both of them have learned recently. When Harry and his girlfriend Chelsey Davy vacationed in the Caribbean, their every move was photographed for the tabloids.
Prince Harry: You always find yourself hiding somewhere and doing something that you don't really want to be doing; why? Because you just don't want to get photographed doing it because of what will be written about it.Matt Lauer: So how does that impact the relationship? You can't, you know, look, when I was courting my wife, I could do whatever I wanted.Prince Harry: It's…Matt Lauer: That's how we got to know each other.Prince Harry: It's difficult. But the private time that we have, with whomever we're with, it's amazing. And that's the way we want it to be really. That's the way we want it to stay.
William's recent breakup with longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton made headlines around the world. They met in college at St. Andrews. Her family was wealthy, but Kate was a commoner with no royal blood. William reportedly became very interested in Kate when he saw her modeling lingerie at a charity benefit. They dated for years. It was an irresistable story. Had the future king found his queen?
When Kate attended William's graduation from Sandhurts Military Academy, speculation about an impending royal wedding reached a full boil and Kate was thrown into the pot. She reminded a lot of people of Diana, right down to the horde of photographers that followed her every move. Then in April, abruptly, the romance ended. Kate and William broke up. Was the pressue too much?
Matt Lauer: As I left the States, obviously, you're on the cover of a lot of magazines there for what's happened with your relationship with Kate. Is there blame, in your opinion, on the press for what happened?Prince William: No. I mean, what I do with my private life is really between me and myself basically. You know, I don't listen to newspapers. I don't take any advice from them. I don’t. Matt Lauer: Do you read any of it?Prince William: Well, you occasionally see a bit of it here and there. But you know, you just let it wash over you, you know? I'm bigger than that. I don't need the press to tell me what to do.Matt Lauer: But if you read something that's not true about a personal relationship, do you ever want to get up on the highest point in London or in England and scream out, "Hey guys, you're wrong. Here's what really happened"?Possibly. But then you come down, you get to their level. You don't want to do that. You know, just let…Prince Harry: Just…Prince William: …them write what you want to write because at the end of the day, you can't stop it. And, you know, there's no point in fighting it.Prince Harry: …it's very hard because the press have given us images that suits them, which…Prince William: …at the end of the day, neither of us care much about images. We just -- we're ourselves. And if, you know, what gets reported and what people make up that assumption or their opinions is -- is up to them. But, you know, we don't go about trying to do anything we wouldn't normally do.
Recently a British tabloid reporter was jailed for hacking into the private voice mailboxes of the princes' staff, looking for scoops. It's one more hazard of life in a fishbowl.
Matt Lauer: Do you e-mail each other? You text message each other? How do you…Prince William: Yeah.Matt Lauer: …do you get a nightly phone call?Prince Harry: We communicate in the normal ways. We are slightly normal. We have a normal side to us.Matt Lauer: Facebook? You know, MySpace.com?Prince Harry: Oh, no, we don’t. We contact each other the normal way, text messages, phone calls. Prince William: Usually means he's left something at home and I have to bring it for him.Prince Harry: Yeah.Matt Lauer: How would you describe your relationship? And how close are you two? How often do you get to see each other and talk to each other? I mean, you've got…Prince Harry: As little as possible.Matt Lauer: ...very busy lives individually.Prince William: It's not easy, I mean, especially with the army as well at the moment.
As it does for all young people in the military, the war in Iraq looms large for Prince William and Prince Harry, who are both officers in the British army. Last spring a close friend of William's from Sandhurst Military Academy was killed in the line of duty.
Prince William: It brings it all to reality, you know, how much these guys and girls out there are facing and how much they're put in harm's way.
At the time of the interview, Harry believed he was going into harm's way himself, on the verge of shipping out to Iraq with his army regiment.
Prince Harry: The closer it gets, the more I sort of think about it. And you know, it's so hard to talk about it. There's a lot that I can think about in my head that I can't actually sort of express. You know, William and I have sat down and had, you know, a little bit of time to talk about it. And I still sort of need to sit down and talk to my father about it because it's very difficult.
Harry has been in uniform, it seems, since he was a little boy. He says he loves the army and, like the rest of his life, his military training has been duly chronicled. Now, at age 22, Harry is a Second Lieutenant. He's trained to lead a group of soldiers in armored reconnaissance vehicles, which have been prime targets for roadside bomb attacks in Iraq. His determination to fight was the subject of enormous controversy in England.
Prince Harry: I've been, you know, nicknamed the "bullet magnet" already.
He was such a high-value target. Jihadist websites were literally calling for his head. Many people believed Harry's presence would have presented too much of a risk to his own men, a fact that William, who is also in the army, acknowledged.
Matt Lauer: Do you worry?Prince William: Yeah, I worry.Prince Harry: He's not bothered at all.Prince William: Good to get him out of the house, you know, and get away from us. But at the same time, of course I worry. But I've got full confidence in what he does. You know, he knows what he's doing, and he's very good at what his job is. And also I've got full confidence that, you know, that if things do get out of hand that, you know, measures will be taken to make sure that no one else is hurt.Matt Lauer: So if the military decided, you know what, it's too risky to you and the others and I'm not going to send you to Iraq, would you be disappointed?Prince Harry: I would be disappointed, but I mean, I think I can safely say that my guys would be disappointed. All that training that you've done as a group, you know each other, how each other works. You know when someone's grumpy without having to ask them. Just with, you know, there's that bond.Matt Lauer: So it would break up this cohesive group at exactly the wrong time.Prince Harry: At exactly the wrong time. But at the same time, I can completely understand because the last thing I want is to feel myself I'm responsible for someone else being injured in any way at all.
Three weeks after our interview, the Ministry of Defense decided the risk was just too great. Harry will not deploy to Iraq, although there's speculation he might be sent to Afghanistan. If any war zone proves too risky for Harry, you can be sure that 24-year-old William, the future king, won't be going either. It's a fact William seems reluctant to accept.
Prince William: Well, I don't know that yet. Because, otherwise, what's the point of me doing all my training and being there for my guys when I can turn around to somebody and say, "Well, I'm far too important. I'm not going."
Their royal pedigree directs every aspect of their lives. But what if it didn't?
Matt Lauer: If your last name weren't "Windsor," if it were "Smith" or "Jones," and you didn't have the duties that you were born into, what would you want to do professionally?Prince Harry: All sorts of things.Matt Lauer: Like what?Prince William: Well, when I was younger, I wanted to be a policeman. And I wouldn't want to be that now. Matt Lauer: The most popular cop on the block.Prince William: Yeah, exactly.Matt Lauer: What would you want to do?Prince Harry: I think it's…Prince William: I don't know. It's a really tricky question. It goes through my head lots. I'd like to fly helicopters, definitely. I'd like to be some sort of heli [helicopter] pilot, you know, working for the UN maybe or something like that. Go off and do some, you know, I'd have to be doing something active, outside and doing sort of fun stuff but with an edge to helping people.Matt Lauer: What about you, Harry?Prince William: He'd probably sit and play computer games and drink beer. Prince Harry: Oh, thanks a lot. No, I don't know how well this would get on, but I'd probably live in Africa.
Why Africa? Harry's girlfriend Chelsy is from Zimbabwe, where her father operated a safari company. Harry has started a charity to benefit AIDS orphans in the southern African nation of Lesotho.
Prince Harry: I'd like to spend all my time out there.Matt Lauer: In a humanitarian aspect?Prince Harry: Both; it would be a humanitarian aspect and as well as a sort of a safari aspect. As a job it would probably be a safari guide. And then…Prince William: It would be really good for me because he wouldn't be around, you see? So I'd get the whole house to myself.Prince Harry: And at the same time, you know, spending my time between a charity, you know, in Lesotho, probably in Lesotho as well. If, you know, if I became normal tomorrow, then I'd help Lesotho.Matt Lauer: That word "normal" comes up a lot, doesn't it?Prince Harry: Yeah.Matt Lauer: It really is. It's kind of the Holy Grail out there.Prince Harry: I feel abnormal. Matt Lauer: And you've been to the United States. You spent a little time in Tennessee. You mentioned Disney World. What are your impressions of the US?Prince Harry: Horrible. Prince William: Oh, my god, no.Matt Lauer: You know that's the headline.Prince William: Yeah, exactly.Matt Lauer: "Harry Calls U.S. 'Horrible.'"Prince Harry: No, I think it's such an amazing place. It's so vast and on such a massive scale and there's so much to do, and it's so different.Prince William: I love America. I think it's brilliant. I have a really good time when I'm over there. Everyone's really friendly, welcoming. They’re very good at sort of not being too invasive. It'd be nice to get back to America sometime soon.Matt Lauer: We've talked a lot about the weight of your responsibilities and your role in this society. What's the coolest thing about being a prince? Prince Harry: It's…Prince William: Yeah, it's a difficult question there.Matt Lauer: You're struggling, huh?Prince Harry: Yeah.Prince William: Yeah. No, I think we're very lucky. You know, we have lots of things that we are very fortunate to have. You know, we have a house, you know? We have, you know, all these sort of nice things around us. And so, you know, we're grateful for that because so many people don't have that.Prince Harry: Yeah. We've had a good education. Doesn't show, but we have, and we are very privileged, you know, in many ways, and we're very lucky. And we're very grateful for that.
It sounds odd to hear two young princes to say they're grateful to have a roof over their heads, but perhaps it reflects their awareness of those less fortunate. This is something they say they got at an early age from their mother Diana, the people's princess.
Matt Lauer: So as you have this opportunity to kind of set the agenda what is it that you want people to stop and think about at ten years about your mom?Prince Harry: Think it's to talk, just to see; just to understand what she did during her life. Prince William: You know we wanted to mark it in a specifically special way, I mean organizing a concert in the way we're doing and with the memorial service in August. Together they're fitting. One or the other we wouldn't be happy with. Because the balance is not there.Matt Lauer: But you don't want just a party.Prince William: No exactly.Matt Lauer: Right.Prince William: We want to have both because then it does. It accomplishes actually what we feel. She's in life and what we feel we've learned and what she brought to the world. And that's very much what we want to get across.
The memorial service will be held on August 31, the tenth anniversary of their mother's death. But well before, on July 1, there will be a concert at Wembley Stadium to celebrate what would have been Diana's 46th birthday.
There are some performers she would have no doubt have invited herself, such as Duran Duran, who she often described as her favorite band, and Elton John, who was a close friend, and the English National Ballet, of which she was a prominent patrons. The concert will benefit three charities: one in Diana's name and two others that William and Harry sponsor.
Matt Lauer: So the concert -- you guys have been extraordinarily involved in it every aspect. This isn't a case of the two sons signing off on it at the last minute. What, did you want to accomplish with this concert?Prince William: We basically the idea came from just both of us talking and again saying that you know, we didn't want to have just a memorial service. We wanted to have a concert for her life and energy and all things that we thought she brought. And so this was the -- sort of the best way of doing it.
They've attended to every detail, even the photo of their mother that graces the concert's Web site. It's part of a shoot by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino; what turned out to be the last photo shoot of Diana's short life.
Prince William: She's become iconic with his photographs and everyone sees that. And so we wanted to find one that really stood out in our minds that was that sort of was her. You know her smiling through and her happiness and all that sort of thing.Prince Harry: Every single photo had something special about it. And this one was sort of you know it wasn't sad to look at and it wasn't sort of over-the-top happy. It was just perfect. It was you know casual, dignified. It was the one that was most natural to us without her sort of.Matt Lauer: It reminded you most of your mom.Prince William: It was the face that we've seen you know from her.
They know as well as anyone that Diana's public image has always been complicated. She was the people's princess, at once glamorous and down-to-earth, beloved by millions. But, especially after her death, a seemingly endless series of tell-all books and articles by former staff members, even former lovers, has also painted her as grasping, neurotic, deeply troubled.
It's been reported that William in particular was outraged when people who had been close to his mother turned on her.
Prince William: Harry and I are both quite upset about it, that our mother's trust has been betrayed, and that even now she's still being exploited. There's always people out there who want to make money. And that's their certain choice and method is to do it this way.Matt Lauer: So it's become a cottage industry.Prince William: Yeah.
Her sons hope the concert celebrating her life will help bring her image back into what they consider an accurate focus.
Matt Lauer: As you guys are sitting at this concert, and I would imagine you'll have pretty good seats, what's going to be going through your mind?Prince William: "Please, God, be a success."Matt Lauer: Well, what will qualify that? How will you know if it's a success? Is it ticket sales? Is it the look on people's faces as they walk back out of the stadium?Prince William: Yeah, I think…Prince Harry: It's the whole thing, isn't it?Prince William: …it's the look that people give exactly as they come out. The feeling that everyone got. And at the same time, that we've actually got across our message both, you know, what our mother meant to us and what we believe that she represented.Prince Harry: I just think the concert is the perfect opportunity for people to celebrate her life rather than her death, if you know what I mean.Matt Lauer: And if the people leave the stadium talking only about the music and not stopping to talk about your mom, is that okay, too?Prince Harry: It's understandable.Prince William: It's, you know -- there will be people there who are coming because it's a concert and not because of her. But I genuinely believe that there'll be lots of people there who have come for her and want to, you know, see what they can get out of it. And I really hope that everyone just leaves with a really nice, warm feeling and are going, "Yeah, that was the Princess of Wales I remember, that's her. That was the Diana I remember."
William and Harry say they plan to be on stage for the concert. They are two young men who are serious, generous and with a mischievous sense of fun. In those ways they are so very like their mother.
This interview aired Dateline June 18, 2007.