Prince William Has Opened Up About How He And Kate Help Their Kids Keep Diana’s Memory Alive

Prince William is a family man through and through. He has, after all, a beautiful and accomplished wife in Kate Middleton, whom he married in 2011. And now the couple have three children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte. But there’s always going to be someone missing from the family unit. That’s Princess Diana, William’s mother, who died when he and his brother, Prince Harry, were themselves just kids. Yet William still seeks to keep her legacy alive.

Diana’s absence was felt particularly strongly in 2018, of course. That’s because it was a milestone year for both of her sons. First, William’s third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge, arrived in April. Then, just a month later, Harry married Meghan Markle, a former actress, at Windsor Castle.

What’s more, in October 2018, five months after the wedding, Kensington Palace made another special announcement. It turned out that Meghan, now Duchess of Sussex, is pregnant and due to give birth in spring 2019. Royal fans were, of course, incredibly excited. Betting shops even started offering odds on what the baby’s name would be, with “Diana” as one of the early front-runners.

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Believe it or not, though, “Diana” has already been used in a royal child’s name. Yes, Princess Charlotte actually shares the moniker with her late grandmother. The three-year-old’s full name is, you see, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Interestingly, too, Elizabeth is after her great-grandmother, the Queen, while Charlotte is the female version of Charles, the name of the little girl’s grandfather.

So even though Diana has been gone from her son’s lives since August 1997, William and Harry surely still remember and love their mother. She was doubtless instrumental in turning them into the young men they’ve become, after all. Before she came along, you see, there was believed to be a particular set of rules for royal children. In fact, they were seemingly never expected to be treated like normal kids.

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But Diana changed all that. She apparently decided to raise William and Harry as ordinary boys and seldom listened to anyone who might’ve suggested doing otherwise. She reportedly watched TV with them in the evenings, for instance, and she seemingly even let them get Big Macs from McDonald’s at weekends. This was evidently something different for the royals, but it seems that the approach worked.

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For one thing, William and Kate are reportedly raising their children in this manner too. Tidbits have certainly come out over the years claiming to show what the royal sprogs get up to when the cameras aren’t on them. For example, George supposedly likes to watch Fireman Sam on his tablet with his dad, the kids apparently sometimes make pizza with their mom, and both parents have been known to pick the children up from their schools.

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The royal couple are also reportedly determined that their kids won’t maintain the “stiff upper lip” attitude once so common among British royals. In an interview with CALMZine in April 2017, a year before Louis was born, William said, “Catherine and I are clear that we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings.”

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William is so open about this because the royal brothers both suffered mentally in the years after their mother’s death. William was only 15 when Diana died, after all, and Harry was even younger, aged 12. In addition, the circumstances surrounding their mother’s sudden passing were unbelievably difficult ones.

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For those who don’t know, Diana died in a car crash in Paris, France, on August 31, 1997. And as she had been a very popular royal figure, media and public interest towards the royals in the weeks following her death was intense and overwhelming. Flowers and signs subsequently piled up outside Kensington Palace, the residence that had been her home. When the funeral was televised, meanwhile, a whopping two billion viewers tuned in.

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And William and Harry were right in the eye of this media storm. So the young boys were having to mourn the loss of their mother with the entire world watching them. The brothers even ended up walking behind Diana’s coffin for the funeral procession. Once they’d becomes adults, however, they would both talk about that act as a negative experience.

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“I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today,” Harry told Newsweek in 2017. That same year, William said much the same, describing the funeral to GQ magazine as “one of the hardest things [he has] ever done.”

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During that interview, William also ruminated on the expectations put upon him to present a brave face. “If I had been in floods of tears the entire way round, how would that have looked?” he asked. “In the situation I was in, it was self-preservation. I didn’t feel comfortable anyway, having that massive outpouring of emotion around me. I am a very private person, and it was not easy.”

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William additionally spoke about how he is raising George, who, as his oldest child, could some day be king. “I want George to grow up in a real, living environment. I don’t want him growing up behind palace walls; he has to be out there,” he said. “The media makes it harder, but I will fight for them to have a normal life.”

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And part of that normal life, it seems, is keeping Diana’s memory alive. In 2017, for instance, William and Harry commissioned a documentary titled Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, which gave the world an in-depth look as to how they had adjusted to their mom’s passing away. In it, William revealed where he had picked up his admirable attitude to child-rearing.

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“[Diana] always understood there was a real life outside of [the] palace walls,” William explained to the cameras. So now, it seems, he’s instilling that attitude in his own children. “[She] prepared us well for life in the best way she could,” the prince said, noting that, of course, his mother didn’t know she wouldn’t be around to witness their journeys.

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Then William spoke about how he kept his children aware of their lost grandmother. When around his kids, he said, he’s “constantly talking about Granny Diana.” That way, he made sure that she was part of the household. “We’ve got more photos up around the house now of her, and we talk about her a bit and stuff,” he said.

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“And it’s hard because, obviously, Catherine didn’t know [Diana], so she cannot really provide that level of detail,” William went on. “So I do regularly, [when] putting George or Charlotte to bed, talk about her and just try and remind them that there are two grandmothers, there were two grandmothers in their lives [the other is Kate’s mother]. So, it’s important that they know who she was and that she existed.”

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Yet although Kate never knew Diana, she does carry a piece of her legacy around with her every day. As when William had proposed, he’d given his future wife a beautiful sapphire and diamond engagement ring. This piece of jewelry had originally belonged to his mother. When she’d become engaged to Prince Charles in 1981, you see, she’d chosen the ring out of a catalogue.

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And after Diana had passed away, William and Harry had looked through her jewelry and picked items out to keep. Originally, Harry had picked out the engagement ring, but in a touching gesture he’d eventually given the band to his brother. William had later gone to Kenya with Kate on a special holiday and used the ring to propose to her there.

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After the engagement announcement, of course, the media had quickly picked up on the significance of the ring. Speaking to CNN later, William had told the world that the use of Diana’s ring was his way of “making sure [his] mother didn’t miss out on today, and the excitement, and the fact [they] are going to spend the rest of [their] lives together.”

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That’s not all, though. People believe Kate’s fashion choices often seem to be subtle tributes to William’s mom too. When Diana had given birth to her eldest son in 1982, for example, she’d debuted him outside St Mary’s Hospital in London while wearing a polka-dot dress. And when Kate did the same thing for her first child, Prince George, she too wore a polka-dot gown.

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So William’s children might well notice, when they eventually go back through family photo albums, that their mother does indeed dress like their late grandmother. And according to Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, the whole family have carefully put-together photograph collections to remind them of past memories. He told Mirror Online about it in September 2018.

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Diana’s photo albums, he said, were “her giving [William and Harry] the story of their lives in pictures, and they have their names in gold lettering on the front.” And she apparently intended for the albums to be kept. “When they got married and had children of their own, she wanted [the boys] to show them – and I’m sure that’s what William is doing with George and Charlotte,” Burrell said.

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Interestingly, George seems to actually take after Diana in a few ways. The little boy is taking dancing lessons, for instance, as William revealed in a video for BBC Radio 1’s Teen Hero awards in October 2018. “George is doing dancing as well; he loves it,” he said. “And it’s kind of… My mother always used to dance. She loved dancing. And if it’s something you love, you do what you love.”

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The Diana, Our Mother documentary also revealed some saddening details about the day Diana died, straight from the mouths of her sons. You see, when the car Diana was in crashed, she was in Paris, but the boys were in Scotland at Balmoral castle. So Diana’s final conversations with William and Harry had been via phone, and of course, they’d not known it was to be their last.

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The princes therefore presumably both regret that their last phone call was so rushed. But being so young, they’d wanted to get back to their own lives. “Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know, ‘See you later,’” William said. “If I’d known, obviously, what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it.”

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Harry, it seems, feels the same way. Speaking of the phone call, he said, “It was [Diana] speaking from Paris, I can’t really necessarily remember what I said. All I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was.” He went on, “I have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life. Not knowing that that was the last time I was going to speak to my mom.”

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During the documentary, William also reminisced about his 2011 wedding day. “When it came to the wedding, I did really feel that she was there. There are times when you look to someone or something for strength, and I very much felt she was there for me,” he said.

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The wedding actually paid tribute to Diana in a few significant ways too. For instance, Kate walked down the aisle to the piece of music “I Was Glad” by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. This same song had played at Diana’s wedding to Charles. What’s more, the hymn “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” featured during William’s marriage ceremony – and had been sung at Diana’s funeral.

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Harry also followed in his brother’s footsteps when it came to honoring his mother at his wedding. In fact, he even proposed to his future wife, Meghan Markle, with jewelry inherited from his mother. The ring is yellow gold with a Botswana-sourced stone, and the diamonds around it are all from Diana’s collection.

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In a post-engagement interview with the BBC, Harry spoke about the importance of using his mother’s diamonds. The idea was, he said, to “make sure that she’s with [them] on this crazy journey together.” Meghan also praised her fiancé’s thoughtfulness and said it was important to her “to know that [Diana is] a part of this.”

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Harry said that if his mother had been able to meet Meghan then “they’d be thick as thieves, without question.” He mused about her reaction to the engagement too. “I think [Diana] would be over the moon, jumping up and down, you know, so excited for me. But then, as I said, she would have probably been best friends with Meghan.”

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The wedding of Meghan and Harry, like the wedding of Kate and William, naturally featured several nods to Diana. For example, Meghan’s “something blue” was a blue ribbon, which had once belonged to Diana, sewn into her wedding dress. And in her bouquet there were many sweet-smelling white roses, a flower that the late princess had loved.

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During the wedding ceremony itself, meanwhile, lip-readers thought they noticed something interesting. At one point the camera was on the princes, you see, and lip-readers later said that William appeared to ask Harry, “Do you remember when mom used to say…?” And Harry supposedly answered, “Yeah, I know.” Seemingly, then, she was very much on their minds that day.

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During their documentary, though, William and Harry did mention one thing that Diana did that they didn’t necessarily like: dressing them in matching outfits! “I genuinely think she got satisfaction out of dressing myself and William up in the most bizarre outfits – normally matching,” Harry said to the cameras.

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“I’m sure as hell going to dress my kids up the same way,” the younger prince joked. However, it seems that William and Kate have opted out of that one. George, Charlotte and Louis certainly haven’t been spotted wearing matching outfits… yet. But that arrangement still has potential to happen!

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So it seems that Diana, William remembered during the documentary, was a wonderful mother, but she sometimes delighted in embarrassing her sons. “I would be at school and get a card from my mother – usually she had found something very embarrassing – but had written something very nice inside,” he said.

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Yet William perhaps doesn’t seem like the type to intentionally embarrass his children. He is, however, prone to a bit of dad-dancing every now and again. And when a video of him doing exactly that surfaced online, the scenes delighted the internet. But if the clip ever gets brought up when his kids are teenagers, they might well cringe (lovingly) at the episode.

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One of the most poignant things that William said during the documentary, though, was regarding what Diana might have been like as a grandmother. “She’d love the children to bits, but she’d be an absolute nightmare,” he said. “She’d come in, probably around bath time, cause an amazing amount of scene — bubbles everywhere, bath water all over the place — and then leave.”

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So the royal brothers will almost certainly have their mother on their minds for the rest of their lives. And when William’s children reach various milestones, and when Harry’s first child is born, they will probably wonder what Diana would have thought and done if she’d still been around. But they can at least be confident that they remember and pay tribute to her in the best possible ways.

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