Why JFK Jr. Didn’t Call Harry and William After Princess Diana’s Death

Following Princess Diana’s death in 1997, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy encouraged her husband John F. Kennedy Jr. to reach out to Prince Harry and Prince William, according to the new biography by Elizabeth Beller, Once Upon a Time: The Captivating Life of Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. In an excerpt obtained by People, Beller reports that as frequent targets of the paparazzi and media themselves, Bessette-Kennedy and JFK Jr. were very upset by Diana’s death in the high speed car chase with photographers in Paris.

“Carolyn tried to get John to call Princes William and Harry to give his condolences when it came out that Diana had hoped for her sons to emulate John’s modesty in the face of media obsession,” Beller writes in the upcoming book. Although JFK Jr. had not met Harry or William, he had encountered the princess on numerous occasions. John, however, was hesitant to reach out to the boys—who were 12 and 15 at the time—“as he didn’t know them and thought that their situations greatly differed.” 

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“He had met [Princess Diana] once or twice,” Beller continues. “And the fact that she had died while being chased down by paparazzi, he was aware of the fact that their [he and Carolyn’s] lives were becoming overwrought with attention and he was upset.”

The excerpt adds, “Carolyn’s suggestion was lovely that he call them. He was, by all accounts, a lovely, gracious person, but maybe that moment was too difficult for him to be able to reach out and say something to someone who’s just lost their parent in a very public and dramatic way.”

Beller told People that Bessette-Kennedy was also “terrified” about the “press attention and scrutiny” in her own life. She was so scared that it “just touched a nerve and it stole a lot of her joy.”

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The biography, which hits shelves on May 21, will focus on the private life of Bessette-Kennedy before she and JFK Jr. tragically died in a plane crash in 1999. Beller told the outlet that she hopes to convey Bessette-Kennedy’s warmth and compassion for others.

“She was very caring and a good friend,” Beller said.