Kate Beckinsale knows what it’s like to lose a famous parent. She also understands the unique pain of watching the public mourn for a person they think they know.
The actor recently opened up to Dax Shepard about her father, beloved English actor Richard Beckinsale, dying of a heart attack at 31, when she was just 5 years old.
Beckinsale said that the uniquely young and public loss of her dad helped her relate to princes William and Harry after the death of their mother, Princess Diana. The Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997, after being chased by paparazzi. Prince William was only 15 at the time, and Harry was only 12.
“I remember when their mother died, I was in New York,” Beckinsale said on Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast with co-host Monica Padman, which was posted on Monday. “And seeing them in the context of other people sort of grieving for somebody they didn’t know ― and I thought, ’Oh my God, I really know what that feels like.’”
“Their’s was on a much, much bigger scale. But people were standing in the street reading the paper sobbing,” she explained. “I remember driving around with people seeing [the same thing] when my dad died. And that was quite weird.”
She added that it was “quite weird” to watch strangers grieve for the death of one of your family members.
“People would talk about how terrible they felt that they had lost him, but then say, ‘Oh, but you probably don’t remember anything, do you? Because you were a child,’” she said, adding that “that would really upset me as a child.”
“But then the person you’re sharing it with is saying, ‘You have less right to this than I do,’ which is really odd,” the “Underworld” actor revealed.
“I found that, as I’m older, I’m less offended by it. There is something incredibly special and comforting about how much other people loved him, that, sort of the longer it goes on ― lovely,” she said. “It was hard at the very, very beginning because it did feel like you were having this very personal, horrible crisis — and so was everybody else, but you didn’t know them.”
Prince Harry has expressed similar comments, revealing in his Apple TV+ series “The Me You Can’t See” earlier this year that it was difficult to share “the grief of my mother’s death with the world.”
“I was like: ‘This is my mum. You never even met her,’” he added.
Harry said that camera flashes can still trigger memories and take him back to his mother’s death.
“I think being part of this family, in this role and this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” the Duke of Sussex said back in 2019, while speaking to journalist Tom Bradby for the ITV documentary, “Harry And Meghan: An African Journey.”
“So in that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best,” he added.