Robin Williams

Prince Harry, Robin Williams' Son Zak Reflect on Grief After Losing Parents in Public Eye

In "A Path Forward," Prince Harry and Zak Williams bond over their experience of losing a parent during a candid conversation about death and grief

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex speaks at "Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World" on Sunday, May 2, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. On the right, Zak Williams attends the grand opening of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation's Robin Williams Center for Actors, Broadcasters, and Recording Artists on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, in New York.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP and Christopher Smith/Invision/AP

Born worlds – and a whole ocean – apart, Prince Harry and actor Zak Williams are far more similar than they are different.

The Duke of Sussex grieved the death of his mother Princess Diana at just 12 years old. As for Zak, he experienced the sudden death of his father Robin Williams when he was 31.

Ultimately, both public figures have had to endure the loss of a parent under the spotlight. Their experiences resulted in a candid conversation about grief and healing on Apple TV+'s "The Me You Can't See: A Path Forward."

"For my end, it was hard to really separate, initially, the process of privately grieving versus sharing the grieving with the general public, both the American public and the world, and I had trouble differentiating that grieving process at first and it was really challenging for me," Zak explained to Harry. "I found myself extremely emotionally dysregulated and feeling vulnerable and exposed when I wasn't ready to be vulnerable. And that created a major challenge for me."

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Zak Williams is getting personal about the loss of his father, Robin Williams. Shortly after the five-year anniversary of the comedian’s sudden passing, the entrepreneur and mental health advocate addressed the trauma surrounding his father’s loss in a Q&A with the mental health chat community 18percent. Zak discussed his decision to become a mental health advocate, how he neglected to...

From Zak's perspective, he didn't get a chance to really focus on his private grieving process until a year and a half after his father died.

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"I'm very thankful and appreciative that I did recognize how to set boundaries," he said. "I hope they're healthy boundaries, around, you know, grieving personally versus grieving as a community, grieving with the public, grieving with the world. You know, I needed that and I didn't necessarily pick up on it initially."

Back in August 2014, news broke that Williams passed away at his home in Tiburon, California. According to his rep, the actor and comedian had been battling severe depression.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are keeping Princess Diana’s memory close for baby Archie. According to Us Weekly, the royal parents have already made the late princess a part of their infant’s life by framing a photograph of her in his nursery. Aug. 31 marks 22 years since Diana’s tragic death. In the years since her passing, Harry has kept...

Harry, who lost his mom in 1997 during a violent car crash, revealed that he also struggled with watching millions of strangers mourn the loss of his mom.

"I think we have a lot of shared experience when you talk about that as, when you see so many people around the world grieving for someone they feel as though they knew them better than you did, you know, in a weird way because you're unable to grieve yourself," he said. "It's like, 'How are you showing more, sort of, how are you grieving more for someone who was my parent and I'm unable to grieve myself?'"

Today, both Zak and Harry are using their platforms to raise awareness about mental health. And while Harry has been able to meet many public figures in his lifetime, the royal family member expressed how honored he was to meet the son of a "real hero of mine."

Gone, but not forgotten. Robin Williams' oldest child found the most heartfelt way to honor his father's memory. Zak Pym Williams named his newborn son after the late actor, and Robin's daughter Zelda had a special role in the tribute too. Find out how the icon's family is carrying on his legacy nearly five years after his tragic death.

"I wish your dad was around to see what a remarkable man that you've grown into," Harry said. "Like, the way that you speak, the way that you were at that crossroads in your life or the T-junction in your life when you could've gone left and carried on doing what you were doing...I think that is, it's remarkable."

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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