How Diana’s advice has shaped Prince William’s life as he turns forty

Prince William celebrated his milestone 40th birthday on Tuesday that same year, the 25th anniversary of the death of his mother, Princess Diana.

Throughout her life, Diana interacted closely with both of her sons, William and Harry, but when William was two years older than Harry, she began to rely on her eldest son during some of the most difficult periods of their marriage.

in his latest book Palace PapersWriter and former editor Vanity FairTina Brown wrote that Diana called William her “little wise old man” because he gave her mature advice.

Royal author Robert Jobson also described how close mother and son were in his 2006 book princess of william, “Diana proudly told friends that William was her ‘soulmate, and closest confidant,'” he wrote.

Despite Diana herself saying how “clear” and “deep” William was 25 years after his tragic death in a high-speed Paris car crash, and as her son celebrated his 40th birthday, it was a piece of advice. The piece that Diana gave to William. resonates today.

Diana’s advice to William that “if you are lucky enough to have someone who loves you must protect him” is evident in the way he protects his family. Photographed on September 12, 2017. and Diana (inset) July 21, 1997.
Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images / Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

“Protect” Those You Love

Following the broadcast of a 1994 interview between Prince Charles and Jonathan Dimbleby, in which the prince admitted that his marriage to Diana was “unexpectedly broken”, the princess asked him to see William at school. Traveled to talk about this.

Recalling the advice he had given to his 12-year-old son in his own television interview to the BBC in 1995 panoramaDiana said:

“I went to school and went to William, specifically, that if you find someone you love in life, you should stick to that and take care of him, and if you’re going to find someone that For the lucky one who loves you, you must protect it.

“William asked me what was going on, and whether I could answer his questions, which I did.”

“He said, was this the reason our marriage broke up? And I said, well, there were three of us in this marriage, and media pressure was another factor, so the two were very difficult together.

“But although I still loved Papa, I couldn’t live under the same roof with him, and so on with him,” she said.

When asked how teenage William reacted to this candid conversation, the princess said:

“Well, he’s a kid who’s a deep thinker, and we haven’t known for a few years how it went. But I kept at it slowly, without resentment or anger.”

Princess Diana Panorama Interview
During her interview with the BBC’s Panorama, Diana told Martin Bashir that she had spoken to Prince William after Prince Charles admitted that she had been unfaithful during their marriage. November 20, 1995.
Pool Photograph / Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

influence on william

There is no doubt that his parents’ turbulent marriage and the press’ “War of Wales” during the 1990s had a profound effect on young William growing up.

After his mother’s death, only three years after his candid conversation with Charles interviewed him, William began to build his relationship, which culminated in 2001 with Kate Middleton while studying at the University of St Andrews.

The young couple dated for almost a decade before getting married in 2011.

Since their marriage, William has spoken openly about his mother, her advice, and the grief he still feels about her loss.

Although many of the memories shared with Diana are pleasant, William has spoken about his sense of failure on his part to protect his mother from the paparazzi and negative media attention, something he has tried to ensure. that it should not be repeated with his wife or family.

Speaking in a BBC documentary marking the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, William said:

“One of the reasons why Harry and I want to do this is because we feel like we’re indebted to him… I think one element of it is realizing that we let him down when we were little.” . We couldn’t protect him.”

Wherever media intrusion over the past decade has felt too close to Diana’s experience, William has intervened in a way he could not have done for his mother in the 1990s and thus followed her advice from 1994. Honor those you love.

Prince William Wedding Day 2011
Prince William married Kate Middleton on April 29, 2011. The couple has three children.
Max Mumby/Getty Images

Diana’s memory

This also applies to some extent to the memory of Diana. in 2021 when an independent investigation found that panorama The interview with Diana was obtained using “deceitful behavior”, William told Kensington Palace:

“I believe the way the interviews were conducted fraudulently influenced my mother’s point of view. Interviews were a major contributor to my parent-child relationship and hurt countless people. Is.

“It is indescribably sad to learn that the failures of the BBC contributed significantly to the fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those last years with her.

“But what makes me sad the most is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been duped. Failed not only by a rogue reporter, but by politicians. BBC who looked the other way instead of asking tough questions.”

Now, forty years after her birth and 25 years after Diana’s death, it is as clear as ever to see how the advice she gave and the example she set shaped the life of William, the day he would one day become king. . distant future.

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