QUEEN ELIZABETH II could not understand Princess Diana’s approach to “hands-on mothering” , causing her to “exclaim” over Diana’s refusal to rely on servants, according to a royal author.
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Princess Diana and Prince Charles married in their fairytale royal wedding in 1981. However, the Prince and Princess of Wales, who would go on to separate 11 years later ahead of their 1996 divorce, proved to be ill-matched from the start, with cracks beginning to show even on their honeymoon. When Prince William and Prince Harry were born in 1982 and 1984 respectively, the way Diana approached parenting the two boys was at odds with a traditionally royal upbringing.
Biographer Andrew Morton, in his 2011 book “William and Catherine”, reports ones of the Queen’s particularly bemused comments.
Mr Morton writes: “Diana’s hands-on mothering, given her position and workload, was in sharp relief to the way her husband, Prince Charles, had been raised by a succession of nannies.
“’He’s not hidden upstairs with the governess’ was her approach to William’s upbringing.
“This yawning generational gold was exposed early on when William’s nanny was absent during a stay at Balmoral, the Queen’s Highland retreat in Aberdeenshire.
Queen ELizabeth II and Princess Diana (Image: Getty)
The young princes with Diana and Charles in 1985 (Image: Getty)
Queen ELizabeth II and Prince Philip at Balmoral, where the Royal Family holiday every summer (Image: Getty)
“Diana took over the mothering herself, causing the Queen to exclaim, ‘I don’t understand why Diana has to do this.
“’There are millions of housemaids around.’”
Diana’s insistence on bringing up the young princes in as normal a way as possible, which Prince Charles “frowned upon”, continued to be a way in which she confounded royal expectations.
The Prince and Princess of Wales faced an infamously tumultuous married life together, and eventually separated when William was 11 and Harry was 9, in 1992.
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Before the split, however, their increasingly fractious relationship did make an impression on the young princes, with Harry reportedly even lashing out at his father.
Mr Morton writes: “[Charles and Diana’s] parental rivalry continued behind the closed doors of Kensington Palace.”
He writes that on one occasion, “young Harry launched an attack on his father, ineffectually beating him on the legs with his fists”.
According to Mr Morton, Harry shouted: “I hate you, I hate you, you make Mummy cry.”
He continues: “William, sensitive and a little shy, was old enough to absorb the confusing emotional meaning behind the stony silences and harsh words when his parents were together.”