Princess Diana would support Harry’s decision to ‘break free’ from the royal family and raise children in America, experts say

It’s almost unbelievable that Diana died 25 years ago.

Maybe it’s because we all remember exactly where we were when we learned that she had been killed in a car accident in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, aged just 36.

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A quarter century after her death, Diana’s influence is all around usCredit: Getty
When she married Prince Charles in July 1981, aged 20, she was naive and unsophisticated.

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When she married Prince Charles in July 1981, aged 20, she was naive and unsophisticated.
Diana certainly never sought to harm the monarchy - she knew it was William's future and always made it clear

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Diana certainly never sought to harm the monarchy – she knew it was William’s future and always made it clear

But I suspect it also has a lot to do with the fact that a quarter of a century later his influence is all around us – and nowhere more evident than in the royal family.

I first met Diana in the early 80s while on a royal tour, shortly after I started editing Majesty magazine, but didn’t know her until shortly before her death. We had a mutual friend in Raine Spencer, her stepmother.

Diana was so many things to so many people. While she took her job seriously because it was important to her, she never took herself too seriously, despite her insecurities.

Diana’s light on the monarchy was not always flattering. Compared to her, the other members of The Firm seemed simpler, duller and lacking in compassion.

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But she certainly never sought to harm the monarchy – she knew that was William’s future and always made that clear.

Instead, much of the change she made was completely natural to her. Putting her arms around people and holding their hands was part of who she was.

She modernized the monarchy without knowing she was doing it. Even she would be amazed at how much she has changed things.

When, as Lady Diana Spencer, she married Prince Charles in July 1981, aged 20, she was naive and unsophisticated.

She had gone from a teenager living in obscurity to a world-famous princess – a transformation of breathtaking speed.

But what was most remarkable wasn’t this fairy tale development, it was the fact that, out of nowhere, the UK now had a caring and empathetic princess.

Dr Jane Collins remembers when she took the Princess to Great Ormond Street Hospital in the late 80s.

“As soon as she arrived on the ward and was with the children and their families, she became totally relaxed, sitting on the edge of the beds and treating every child she met and their parents as if they were the only people she wanted to talk to,” she said.

“Our eternal memory of Diana is a warm and compassionate princess with a deep affection for babies and children, comfortable with people from all walks of life, of all nationalities and in all circumstances they encountered.”

With these attributes, it was inconceivable that she wouldn’t change the royal family, whether she intended to or not.

It was her vulnerability that made people identify with her more than her beauty and success. Her unhappiness within her marriage — and within herself — resonated with so many women everywhere.

She understood what it was like to be misunderstood. And she knew what it was like to wait for a lost husband, wondering where he was and who he was with.

She also knew what it was like to have so much pain inside, there was no therapy she hadn’t tried.

Diana led an utterly privileged life, but women from the slums of Glasgow and the farms of rural Africa to the penthouses of New York connected with her in ways they had never connected with a member. of the royal family before.

As soon as she arrived on the ward and found herself with the children and their families, she became totally relaxed, sitting at the edge of the beds and treating every child she met and their parents as s they were the only people in the world she wanted to talk to.

Doctor Jane Collins

And she showed her sons the importance of getting involved with everyday people – and both went on to marry women from different backgrounds than their own.

Right off the bat, when it came to her sons, Diana did things incredibly differently than the previous generation. She knew she wanted to raise them herself, rather than have them looked after by a team of nannies, like Charles had been.

These nannies made sure Charles was number one and gave him love and attention, but he lacked love from the queen, who had been affectionate but distant.

Diana later complained that the only greeting Charles knew was to shake hands. She was exaggerating, but she was determined not to repeat what she saw as the mistakes made during Charles’s childhood.

This was not the way things had been done at all, and it caused ripples in royal circles. But because Diana was stubborn by nature, she never listened to any advice on how to live her royal life.

She wanted to do it her way – and she did. She introduced her parenting plan shortly after William’s birth, when she said:

“A child’s stability stems mainly from the affection received from its parents and nothing replaces affection.”

Diana adored her sons and did everything in her power to bring joy into their lives.

From inviting three models to the palace to surprise William on his 13th birthday, to aligning her work schedule with that of her sons as much as possible, she lived for her boys.

And as Harry recalled in the 2017 ITV documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy, she was never shy about showing them how much they meant to her.

The stability of a child stems mainly from the affection received from its parents and nothing replaces affection.

princess diana

“She was engulfing you and squeezing you as tight as she could and being as small as I was at the time, there was no escaping – you were there as long as she wanted to hold you. Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs she was giving us.

In doing so, she changed everything and, within a generation, completely transformed the monarchy.

Diana would have been saddened to think her ‘beloved boys’ weren’t on good terms, but she might also have been wise enough to realize that Harry needed his independence from the Royal Family – as she did too – and that he might have freed himself from The Firm to raise his children as he wanted.

As for William, she would have been impressed that he had managed to create the family she had so badly wanted on her own – with a loving partner and seemingly well-adjusted and happy children, who so far have lived a largely life. away from the public. glance.

William’s insistence on not sending his children to boarding school was influenced by Diana, who was miserable when her boys were in school, but it was just the right thing to do.

Diana made sure her children appreciated the importance of love, and although she wasn’t able to give them a united family, she did make them realize how important one was.

She never wanted a divorce. When the Queen sent her a letter saying the time had come for her and Charles to do so, as it was too damaging to themselves, their children and the monarchy for their marriage to continue, Diana was devastated.

She and Charles had reached a stage where they barely spoke, but the Queen’s order still shocked them.

Diana told me that on the day of the divorce, they sat together on the couch and cried.

She also made sure her sons understood the importance of empathy and compassion.

She engulfed you and held you as tight as she could and being as small as I was at the time, there was no escaping – you were there as long as she wanted to hold you.

Prince Harry

While Prince Andrew, for example, is seen as having a sense of entitlement and arrogance, this is alien to William.

Instead, alongside his official royal duties, he embraced those in need and misunderstood, just as his mother did before him.

William slept rough as patron of homeless charity Centrepoint to bring attention to the plight of teenagers who have nowhere to go.

He learned to understand and help minorities, and embraced people of different sexualities.

Instead of criticizing, he tries to understand wildly different points of view – and he has his mother and father to thank for that.

Meanwhile, Harry’s decision to leave The Firm was likely influenced by his mother, as well as Meghan, as Diana often talked about moving to America.

When I saw Diana shortly before her death in July 1997, she admitted that the year of her divorce was the lowest point in her life.

It made him want to uproot himself and start over. She wanted to live in her own property in her name and not in a palace owned by her mother-in-law.

She was tired of Britain. The Royal Family were putting obstacles in her way – or so she felt. Yes, their lives were very different, but it seems Harry shared many of Diana’s frustrations before leaving the UK.

The two brothers bravely abandoned the old royal approach of ‘never complain, never explain’ as they spoke about their own mental health and the importance of sharing how we feel – with a genuine desire to make a difference.

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Helping others was also a very genuine vocation in Diana’s short life. If she has one legacy for how she wanted to be remembered, this would be it.

  • Ingrid Seward is the author of books including The Queen & Di, Diana: The Last Word and William & Harry.
Diana's unhappiness within her marriage – and within herself – resonated with so many women everywhere

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Diana’s unhappiness within her marriage – and within herself – resonated with so many women everywhere
She was unhappy when her boys were in school

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She was unhappy when her boys were in school
Diana would have been impressed that William had managed to create the family she had wanted so badly on her own

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Diana would have been impressed that William had managed to create the family she had wanted so badly on her own
Helping others was a very genuine calling in Diana's short life.

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Helping others was a very genuine calling in Diana’s short life.
Dr Jane Collins of Great Ormond Street Hospital said:

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Dr Jane Collins of Great Ormond Street Hospital said: ‘Our eternal memory of Diana is a warm and compassionate princess with a deep affection for babies and children’
The two brothers bravely abandoned the old royal approach to

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The two brothers bravely abandoned the old royal approach of ‘never complain, never explain’