Princess Diana’s crucial life experience fuelled break from Royal Family tradition

Princess Diana: Childhood 'impacted parenting' says expert

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Princess Diana’s own unhappy childhood influenced her role as a mother to Prince William and Prince Harry, a royal commentator suggested. The late Princess of Wales broke away from Royal Family tradition by becoming a “hands-on” parent and formed a close bond with her two young sons. Her approach to upbringing has been repeatedly praised for the impact it later had on both Prince William and Prince Harry with their own children.

Royal expert Deborah Thomas told 9Honey: “She had a very unhappy childhood…she didn’t want that for her children.” 

Fellow commentator Juliet Rieden suggested Diana’s work experience prior to joining the Royal Family also played a significant role in how she approached motherhood.

Ms Rieden said: “Diana had been a children’s nanny, she worked in a nursery. She loved children so she was always going to be very hands-on with her own children.

“She really enjoyed being with them and I think that’s what people pick up on the most – she was very hands-on with them.

Harry and William speak about how much fun she was and that’s very different from that stiffer approach seen from the Queen.”

Born to aristocratic parents, Princess Diana was born on July 1, 1961 as the fourth child of the 8th Earl Spencer and his wife Frances Ruth Roche.

Princess Diana’s parents divorced when she was seven years old after her mother abruptly left her father for another man.

A bitter custody and courtroom battle ensued in which her maternal grandmother, Baroness Fermoy, testified against her own daughter.

Custody was granted to Diana’s father and according to the Princess’s brother, the current Earl Spencer, Diana felt abandoned by their mother.

According to royal experts, these early difficulties cemented Princess Diana’s desire to be a devoted mother to her two young sons. 

After marrying the Prince of Wales at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981, she went on to give birth to Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. 

She insisted on breaking royal protocol by taking the infant Prince William on the couple’s 6-week long tour of Australia and played an active role in their education, refusing private governesses and regularly picking them up at the school gates. 

Her open displays of affection were in stark contrast to the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. 

In interviews, Prince Harry and Prince William often reminisce about their mother’s playful nature and outgoing attitude. 


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Prince William once revealed that Diana had arranged for the world’s most famous supermodels, such as Naomi Campbell, to surprise the young Prince after he came home from school. 

She also insisted on taking her children on educational excursions to visit the general public, in order for the Princes to understand their position of privilege and gain a sense of the normal world. 

Royal commentator Nick Burrows said: “She was very determined to make sure they saw another side of life and that 100 percent did play a part in how they saw the world later on.” 


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