It's been almost twenty years since Princess Diana passed away after a horrific car accident. It’s widely believed that the paparazzi caused the car to speed up and therefore crash. It's also been said that the car was hit by a drunk driver, and some people believe in a conspiracy theory involving the palace. No matter what the reason, the outcome is the same. Tragic. Two young boys lost their mother on August 31, 1997 and the world lost their favorite Princess.
One of the reasons people loved and still love her so much is because she wore her heart on her sleeve. She wasn't afraid to hug her children in public or show her emotions; the good, the bad and the ugly. Diana paved the way for a new kind of royal parenting and set a high standard for mothering a future monarch. Judy Wade, royal contributed to Hello! Magazine, said she used to call Diana a “rebel royal mum” because of Diana's breaks with tradition.
Being a parent is hard, but Diana also had to balance the clash of giving her kids a normal life and the fact that they would never be normal. The best thing she could do for them was take them out of the palace walls. Even though she passed away before her grandchildren were born, Diana has been very much a part of their lives. Kate, Dutchess of Cambridge, followed in Diana's footsteps when making big decisions about motherhood. The two are often compared, but the general consensus is the same for both mothers. The people love them! Keep reading to find out more about how Princess Diana mothered a future King.
15 She Was Destined For Motherhood
According to Newsweek, Diana's father recalled that as a young girl she “always loved babies." A former school headmistress (teacher) said that Diana “was awfully sweet with the little ones.” It was no surprise for those close to Diana that she was an exceptional mother. We could say that she was destined to become a mother. It quickly became obvious to the world that Diana was truly head over heels in love with her two sons, William and Harry. All the evidence of true love was captured in photos both official and paparazzi.
Perhaps one of the most iconic photos of Diana with her boys is one from Toronto in 1991. We can see Harry and William coming towards their mother. Diana is rushing to see them. She's leaning forward with her arms flung open wide ready for a giant hug. She has a smile that can shine a light across the world when she sees her children.
14 Pregnancy Problems
Diana couldn't understand why she was so taken by morning sickness. She was excited to be expecting a baby, but why must it come with dreadful headaches, dizziness, and instant nausea at the sight of food. She was completely exhausted, but continued to pull herself together for public appearances. After all, she could not let the public know how badly she actually felt. When the Queen finally announced the pregnancy just four months after the wedding, Diana felt some relief. She no longer had to hide the reason for her sickness.
Now she had another problem to worry about. Diana complained, “the whole world is watching my stomach.” Gaining weight during pregnancy is hard for someone who has struggled with bulimia. Add the whole world watching on top of that and it's a recipe for an anxiety attack. At a later time Diana admitted, “I believe that the whole of England lay with me during labor. My fears, and also the pressure which weighed upon me, were dreadful.”
13 Hospital vs Home Birth Debate
We're in a day where home births are becoming more popular. However, for centuries, the royals have always traditionally given birth at home. Queen Elizabeth II was born in a private family home in London. Her sons Charles, Andrew and Edward were born in Buckingham Palace and her only daughter, Anne, was born at Clarence House which is royal property.
By the time the 80’s rolled around the majority of common people gave birth in a hospital. Leave it to Diana to break free of royal traditions and do what she feels is best for herself and her children. She chose to give birth at the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s hospital in central London. The entrance of St. Mary's Hospital had been occupied for days by photographers and fans. Half the world was waiting for the delivery. On June 21, 1982 Diana brought a healthy baby boy into the world with Charles by her side.
12 She Won The Name Game
Even the royals have their fair share of marital problems or disagreements. Like many of us, Charles and Diana had a difference of opinion over the names of their children. Charles wanted the name Arthur for their firstborn, but Diana liked William. No suspense here. We all know who won that disagreement. But, like most wives do, Diana tried to keep her husband happy by still incorporating the name Arthur into the name of their firstborn. Ultimately, Diana and Charles settled on the name William Arthur Philip Louis when he was born on June 21, 1982.
Round two - Charles was probably thinking Diana would give in and let him chose the name for their second born. Charles chose the name Albert, but Diana had another name in mind. She preferred the name Harry. Once again, our favorite Princess won the battle of the names. Henry Charles Albert David was born on September 15, 1984.
11 She Suffered From Postpartum
Believe it or not, Diana suffered from a terrible postpartum depression after her first son, Prince William, was born. In a 1995 interview conducted by BBC, Diana admitted to self-injuring because of the pressure she was feeling. She would burst into tears and have no idea why she was crying. She spent most the day in a dark bedroom while a nanny and an infant nurse cared for baby William. Diana Didn't get very much sympathy from the royal family during this hard time. People thought, this woman has everything she needs, why is she sad? Psychologists were called for Diana and luckily she was soon able to overcome the depressive phase.
A study of 10,000 moms with newborns found that 1 in 7 will get postpartum depression. Luckily, most of those women were able to find a treatment that helps. Postpartum depression can start anytime during the baby's first year of life. However, it is most common in the first three weeks after birth.
10 Diana Breastfeeding
Diana shocked everyone when she chose to breastfeed her children. ABC News reported that breastfeeding was unheard of in the royal family until this time. However, there are contradictory reports from The Guardian that reveal the present Queen Elizabeth II was breastfed following her birth in 1962 and also breastfed her own children. It was her sister Margaret that found it distasteful and went in the opposite direction. Queen Victoria found the idea of breastfeeding repellent, considering it the “ruin” of intellectual and refined young ladies.
Diana was often expected to leave her babies behind to attend to her royal duties. In the past, the baby would be fed by a wet nurse to allow the royals to be free. Lactating women were often lined up and on call so the royal baby could be fed on demand. Diana used breastfeeding as an excuse to stay close to her children.
9 The Lengthy Trips
“Prince William was the first royal baby brought along on a royal trip,” said Kate Coyne of People Magazine. She added that Diana insisted on bringing him and one of the reasons she would not leave him behind was that she was breastfeeding. When baby William was just nine months old his parents were expected to make a visit to Australia. The journey would last for six weeks. Diana knew this would not be possible for her to leave her child behind. She could not bear such a separation from her baby for that long amount of time. Diana insisted on bringing William along on the trip. The Queen denied her request.
Diana, being the strong willed mother, said if she could not bring the baby then she would stay behind in London with William. The Queen knew the people of Australia would be disappointed if Charles were to show up alone. Once again, Diana got her way and was granted permission to take baby William on his first official royal trip.
8 Nanny Drama
Like many mothers, Diana played an active role in her children's lives and did not want a nanny to have too much influence over her children. She didn't want them to be “raised by nannies.” After two less than par nannies were dismissed from the job, Tiggy Legge-Bourke was found. She was cheerful and seemingly perfect for the job.
A true nanny-drama began when Diana insinuated that Tiggy flirted with her husband and tried to play the role of hostess. Diana also felt that Tiggy had “taken over her children.” Diana loved having her boys all to herself. She spent as much time with them as possible and never missed an opportunity to jump in on the fun they were having. But, just like mothers everywhere know, we can't do it all. We can't work full time (be a Princess) and be present for every moment. Despite their mother's jealousy, William and Harry truly loved Tiggy.
7 Boys Will Be Boys - Even If They Are Royal
Diana once said, “I want to bring them (William and Harry) up with security. I hug my children to death and get into bed with them at night. I always feed them love and affection. It's so important.”
Diana didn't bring her children up by the book of royal traditions. Even the way she loved them went against “tradition”, but Diana didn’t care. She prioritized being a present and good mother over royal traditions. She was willing to defy her husband Prince Charles and the Queen when it came to how she mothered William and Harry on a day to day basis.
Diana wanted her kids to experience a sense of normalcy. She took the boys out for burgers at McDonald's and let them wear jeans and baseball hats. William and Harry rode their bicycles around and even went white-water rafting. It was important for Diana to share these everyday experiences with her children.
6 Schooling Disagreements
The subject of schooling was another disagreement in the marriage of Diana and Charles. Charles wanted a strict upbringing. He had private teachers and tutors by the age of four. Diana's view of how to educate and raise a child was so much different. It's no surprise that the Queen sided with her son, who wanted William and Harry to be under the supervision of a private teacher. However, it was absolutely shocking when Diana (once again) got her way and sent the boys to a public nursery in central London. She argued that it would be good for them to play with other children the same age.
Later, William and Harry attended the public school of Wetherby and afterwards the Ludgrove public boarding school. It's a natural process in high society to send the children off to boarding school. However, this was very painful for Diana. She loved having her children around all the time.
5 Scariest Mom Moment
Mothers everywhere know that the scariest moment of our lives is the fear of our child even possibly being hurt. When Diana received the news that Prince William was badly injured at school she quickly ran to his side. In June 1991, another student accidentally hit William in the head with a golf club. He had a depressed skull fracture that would require immediate surgery. This type of injury can potentially be life threatening.
Prince William was at Royal Berks Hospital following the accident, but then rushed to Gt Ormand St Hospital in London. Diana rode in the ambulance with him, but his father followed behind in a car escorted by police. Williams operation lasted 75 minutes. Charles left the hospital in order to keep a prior engagement. Diana would not leave her son's side. She didn't understand how Charles could leave in a time like this. When William woke up his mother was sitting at his bedside.
4 Her Sons Lift Her Up
Diana didn’t have the best relationship with Charles. When she wanted or needed attention he would simply give her a pat on the back. Diana's sons were her confidantes. She wasn't shy in front of them. She showed them her feelings openly and honestly. William is the one she confided in more. When a scandal hit the papers Diana would go to Williams school to talk to him about it. She treated Harry more like a child and gave him a lot of affection. Always stroking his hair and arm or holding his hand.
Once, Diana sat in the bathroom crying. She had locked herself in and did not want to come out. William pushed some tissues under the door and crouched down by the bathroom door to speak to his mother. Somehow, he managed to get her to come out and his little arms held his mother. Diana hated the fact that she could not hold back her tears in front of her children.
3 Memories That Last A Lifetime
In August 1993, just nine months after her split with Prince Charles, Diana took William and Harry on an unforgettable trip to Disney world. William, 11, and Harry, 8, got the true royal treatment on their trip. They stayed at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and they rented out the entire 5th floor!
The first stop on the royal itinerary was Magic Kingdom. A private escort helped them find their way to the theme parks best ride while secretly navigating them through underground tunnels. The boys got to sit in the front row on Splash Mountain. Diana chose to sit in the back and cover her head when the big splash hit. Harry and William screamed with laughter. The royal family also took a ride on the Country Bear Jamboree, the Jungle Cruise and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The public has heard about this trip, but only Diana and her boys will have the memory of the intimate moments shared between them. The special moments that weren't captured on film.
Orlando resident, Marilyn Emrick, told the Orlando Sentinel in 1993 that Diana appeared to be having a genuinely good time. She was relaxed and “looked like a typical tourist walking around Disney World.”
2 A Manipulative Mother
While most people still paint the late Princess Diana as a wonderful loving mother, the book, Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son, paints the Princess in a different picture. The late Princess Diana was a manipulative, paranoid mother who threatened to have Camilla (her husband's mistress) killed, according to the biography. The book was written by journalist and season royal biographer Penny Junor. It covers Diana's “emotional extremes” and the effect it had on both Harry and William.
“Her love for them was almost obsessive, and it was possessive,” Junor writes. “One of her favorite phrases was - ‘Who loves you most?’.”
Something that is very surprising is the fact that Diana confided in her boys and sought comfort from them when they were so young. She and Charles could barely tolerate being in the same room together and it was no secret.
Junor goes on to write, “Expensive rehab clinics are filled with the children of broken homes and bitter divorces, some of whose experiences pale beside Harry’s. What almost certainly saved him and his brother was the army of people employed to look after them.”
1 In The End
When William, 15, and Harry, 12, went on a vacation with their father they received the most tragic news a young child could ever receive. Their mother had died due to injuries received in a car crash.
Even after her death, Diana was looking out for her sons. She left them close to $30 million and also instructed that her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, should be consulted about the boys’ education in the event of her death. We suspect that her reason for this was to make sure the boys kept that sense of normalcy she always wanted them to have. We think Diana would be very proud of her boys today.
Robert Jobson, author of The New Royal Family, told the today show, “she wanted to make sure (her children) were showered with love. That's something she really agonized over when she split from Prince Charles. I think this will reflects that.”