PRINCE CHARLES and Prince William impressed TV viewers this week with their down to earth look at life in the Duchy of Cornwall – and Charles gave his son the support he needed to overcome his fears of the media earlier in life, according to a royal biographer.
Some viewers, tuning in to see the Duke and Duchess’ work in Africa, said they were disappointed to see the royal pair open up about private struggles.
The Duke of Sussex has had some blistering words for the media in recent weeks, and has also spoken about the trauma of being constantly photographed and how it takes him “straight back” to memories of his mother Princess Diana.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince of Wales (Image Getty)
Prince William and Prince Charles togther at Royal Ascot this year (Image: Getty)
Penny Junor, in her 2005 book “The Firm” shows how, although naturally mistrustful of the press, a series of nurturing press secretaries from Charles’ office helped William to overcome his fears and shape his public profile.
Ms Junor writes: “William has a kind of natural authority.
“He is very much his own man – a much stronger character than his father – he knows what he wants and will do what he wants.
“He grew up with a profound dislike of the media and a hatred of cameras, having been subjected to so much much of it with his mother and seen what havoc and unhappiness it caused to all their lives.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just returned from royal tour in Pakistan (Image: Getty)
“But since his mother’s death he has been well served by a series of good, kind and sympathetic individuals in his father’s Press Office who have broken him in gently, carefully hand-picking journalists to interview him and photographers to take pictures, gradually building up his trust, teaching him that not all media people are out to hurt or take advantage of him, that not all publicity is damaging.
“He knows that, like it or not, the media is going to be an essential part of his life – essential for the monarchy and the role he will have to play in The Firm.
“He will need the media as much as the media will need him – and, like his mother, he is playing the charm card, but where Diana spent most of her life out of control, William is in command and my guess is that he will command respect.”
The royal author explains: “Sandy Henney was the first press secretary to take William under her wing.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Windsor today (Image: Getty)
Prince William, Prince Charles and Prince Harry togther with David Attenborough earlier this year (Image: Getty)
“A former civil servant, she was warm, genuine, and devoted to both boys.
“Colleen Harris, her deputy, took over. She was another former civil servant and another caring solicitous mother figure who also built up a good relationship with William and Harry and loved them dearly.”
William’s relationship with the press over the years has had some tensions, notably when the privacy of his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge has been at stake.
In 2007 he took the unusual decision to make a public statement when he accused the media of harassing Kate outside her home.
Then, the couple took legal action in 2012 over pictures taken of the Duchess sunbathing at a private chateau in France.
However, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have not taken the step of opening up to the media in the emotional way that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did this week.
Some royal watchers, including expert Camilla Tominey in the Daily Telegraph, have likened the step to Princess Diana’s bombshell Panorama interview in 1995.
She wrote: “Her revelation to interviewer Tom Bradby that: “Not many people have asked if I’m okay,” appears to hint at a lack of support among her royal relatives – echoing the criticisms Diana made to Martin Bashir in 1995 of being isolated and misunderstood.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK