Before Princess Diana Died, She Revealed Why She Gave More Love And Attention To Harry Than William

Princess Diana doubtless had her detractors within the royal family. But even those critics would probably now concede that she was a very good mother. She was mom to Prince William and Prince Harry, and they’ve always talked of their late parent in glowing terms. There’s no doubt, then, that she was utterly devoted to her children. Yet did she give one of them more attention than the other?

Good mothers do, of course, never have favorites. But in the decades since her death lots of information has surfaced about the relationships that Diana had with her sons. And it seems that while she may have treated them with equal love, this was expressed quite differently. People who knew her, you see, have claimed that she was in fact more demonstrative towards Harry.

Diana sadly passed away in 1997, leaving both her sons bereft. Harry has subsequently talked a lot to the media about the mental health issues he has faced as a result of that trauma. And before she died, Diana had spoken quite openly to individuals about how she raised her sons in slightly different ways. What’s more, she also revealed her precise reasoning for doing so.

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Fast-forward 21 years and William and Harry are now adults – and parents themselves to boot. William is married to Kate Middleton, with whom he has three children. And Harry is the proud husband of Meghan Markle, who share one child together so far. So just like their mother before them, both men balance their parenting responsibilities with their royal duties.

Both princes have talked in detail about what it was like having Diana as a mother. For example, in 2017 they helped create a documentary called Diana Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. It granted an in-depth look into William and Harry’s childhood as royals, as well as their memories of their beloved mom.

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When Harry opened up to the camera crew, then, the resulting footage was emotional. “This is the first time that the two of us have ever spoken about her as a mother. She was our mum. She still is our mum,” he said. “And, of course, as a son I would say this: she was the best mum in the world. She smothered us with love, that’s for sure.”

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William and Harry recalled how their mother had strived to teach them to be normal children rather than little princes. “She was very informal and really enjoyed the laughter and the fun,” William explained. “She understood that there was a real life outside of palace walls.” Meanwhile, Harry affectionately admitted that his mother “was one of the naughtiest parents.”

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Harry proceeded to reveal more about this side of Diana to viewers. “My mother cherished those moments of privacy and being able to be that mother rather than the Princess of Wales,” he continued. “She made the decision that – no matter what – despite all the difficulties of growing up in that limelight and on that stage, she was going to ensure that both of us had as normal a life as possible.”

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And Diana clearly achieved her aim of giving her sons a normal life filled with precious memories. “If that means taking us for a burger every now and then or sneaking us into the cinema, or driving through the country lanes with the roof down in her old-school BMW to listen to Enya, I think it was… part of her being a mum,” Harry remembered fondly.

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Indeed, Diana’s efforts to raise her sons “normally” have been well documented. It was Diana who chose the school they would attend, for instance. And she would drive them there herself whenever possible. In addition, when it was time to have some fun, Diana took her children to theme parks. Just like all the other visitors, nevertheless, she ensured her boys waited patiently in line for each attraction. No preferential treatment on her watch, seemingly.

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In the documentary, the princes spoke openly about the last conversation that they had had with their mother before her untimely death in 1997. She had spoken to them via phone from Paris. “If I’d known now obviously what was going to happen, I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else,” William explained. “But that phone call sticks in my mind quite heavily.”

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William was not alone in that sentiment. Harry also expressed deep regret over the casual nature of what was to be his last conversation with his mother. “Looking back on it now, it’s incredibly hard. I have to sort of deal with that for the rest my life,” he admitted. “Not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak with my mum, and how differently that conversation would have panned out if I had even the slightest inkling that her life was going to be taken that night.”

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Harry has often talked openly about the emotional problems that he suffered in the wake of Diana’s death. For example, in 2017 he gave a frank interview to The Daily Telegraph about the years of “total chaos” he’d endured. Although his brother William tried to help him, Harry said that for a while he simply “shut down all his emotions.”

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And Harry had been very young when Diana died – indeed, he hadn’t yet even reached his teenage years. “I can safely say that losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years, has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well,” he stated.

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Harry also discussed his coping mechanisms and explained that initially he dealt with it all by “sticking [his] head in the sand, refusing to ever think about [his] mum. He said, “From an emotional side, I was like, ‘Right, don’t ever let your emotions be part of anything.’ So I was a typical 20-, 25-, 28-year-old running around going, ‘Life is great’ or ‘Life is fine.’ And that was exactly it.”

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Harry’s time as a royal wild child didn’t go unnoticed by the media, of course. Indeed, for a long time he was labeled “the party prince.” As a young man he smoked weed, causing his father, Prince Charles, to make Harry go to a rehab facility for a day. A spokesperson for St. James’ Palace claimed in 2002 that “it is not that he had or has a serious problem, but he did take the drug.”

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Then there was the infamous costume-party incident. Back in 2005 Harry shocked the nation when he chose to don a Nazi uniform at an informal social gathering. Needless to say, the response from the media and the public was one of outrage. Harry subsequently made a statement of apology, though, and he said, “I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone.”

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Harry also got himself into significant trouble in 2012 when he decided to engage in a spot of strip billiards. Despite the game unfolding in the privacy of the prince’s hotel room, though, unfortunately one of the guests chose to capture these antics on camera. And even worse for Harry, the images left nothing to the imagination. Needless to say, they were leaked to the media. The prince must have had to do some very awkward explaining to his grandma regarding his Las Vegas trip.

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Eventually, however, the party prince realized that hedonism wasn’t helping – and that he could no longer outrun the pain he’d tried to suppress. “I started to have a few conversations and, actually, all of a sudden, all of this grief that I have never processed started to come to the forefront,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “And I was like, there is actually a lot of stuff here that I need to deal with.”

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In addition, Harry confessed that when he came “very close to total breakdown,” it was his big brother who stepped in to support him. According to Harry, William had told him, “Look, you really need to deal with this. It is not normal to think that nothing has affected you.” And of course, the older prince was absolutely correct.

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Harry subsequently sought therapy and also worked out his anger through sport. “During those years, I took up boxing, because everyone was saying boxing is good for you, and it’s a really good way of letting out aggression,” he explained. “And that really saved me, because I was on the verge of punching someone. So being able to punch someone who had pads was certainly easier.”

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Another traumatic incident that had a lasting effect on Harry was the memory of his mother’s funeral. Yes, Diana was given a massive public memorial service. And as a result, her two young sons were forced to walk with their father, uncle and grandfather behind her coffin, before vast crowds of onlookers.

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Harry later spoke of his anger at being exposed to such an ordeal. “My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television,” he told Newsweek in 2017. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

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Nonetheless, in that same interview Harry talked positively about his improving mental health. “I didn’t want to be in the position I was in. But I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good,” he said. “I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh.”

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Knowing about Harry’s difficult past also grants plenty of insight into the human he is today. But there’s another, previously unknown element to his childhood. Because while raising her two boys, Diana made sure she treated Harry differently to how she treated William. And there was a very good reason for that distinction.

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Richard Kay, a journalist to whom Diana often spoke, wrote a piece about the princess and her parenting practices for the Daily Mail in 2018. He claimed that Diana gave Harry a lot of extra focus in order to counteract the preferential treatment bestowed upon William. Apparently, other members of the family lavished attention on the heir to the throne.

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Kay went into some detail about this matter. “As compensation, Diana poured more love and attention into Harry,” he claimed. “‘I have to,’ she would often tell me. ‘Charles and I worked so hard to ensure both boys receive equal amounts of our time and love, but others in the family seem to concentrate on William.’”

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However, Diana objected to the other royals putting William first. “Harry had complained that whenever he and William visited their great-grandmother at Clarence House, it was always William she made a fuss over and who sat next to her,” Kay wrote. Harry had thought that it was unfair and told his mother so.

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“Diana took it up with the Queen Mother explaining, as delicately as possible, that she would prefer it if she didn’t show favoritism to William,” Kay claimed. “For her part, the Queen Mother argued that as William was heir to the throne, he should be groomed as such.” And the Duke of Cambridge was indeed told from a young age that he would be king one day.

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Moreover, royal biographers have also noted that the duke was frequently treated as the golden boy. “William often received the lion’s share of attention from some senior members of the family and some of the staff,” stated writer and royal correspondent Marcia Moody. She penned this opinion in her 2014 book entitled Harry: A Biography.

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Moody, too, had heard that the brothers were treated differently. “The Queen Mother used to put a seat next to her and call for William to sit on it, and he also used to go to Clarence House, without Harry, to see her.” Furthermore, the young Harry had also once reportedly told William, “You’ll be king, I won’t; so I can do what I want!”

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A one-time protection officer of William and Harry, Ken Wharfe, was also interviewed for the biography. And he had some surprising comments about the boys’ first nanny. According to him, she “favored William far more than Harry, which didn’t appeal to Diana.”

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Wharfe alleged that when the boys went out with this nanny, “Harry was very small, and he would be ignored almost to the point where it didn’t really matter what happened to him.” Moreover, despite the young Harry often becoming very carsick, Wharfe claimed, the nanny would just say, “He’s alright, he’s fine.”

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Diana consequently felt compelled to intervene on the subject. After she made her feelings clear to the family, Kay wrote in his article, “things did change a little.” She was evidently determined to stand up for her younger son and ensure his feelings didn’t get hurt. “More than anything, Diana didn’t want Harry to have a complex about his position in the family,” Kay added.

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The younger brother of a person due to inherit usually occupies a curious position in royal families. For a long time, in fact, pairs of sons born to princesses were nicknamed “the heir and the spare.” It stems back to the days when being royalty was a very precarious position. That’s right: if the heir was killed, there was always another prince to fall back on.

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Of course, there’s less chance now that William will be killed on a battlefield – and Harry has mixed feelings about kinghood, anyway. “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen?” he ruminated when interviewed by Newsweek in 2017. “I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”

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William has perhaps been mindful about his childhood when it comes to raising his own kids, especially his oldest son. Prince George is very likely to be crowned king one day, but William and Kate are not only not grooming him for the monarchy, but reportedly they also haven’t even told him about his future job yet.

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In fact, William seems determined to continue his mother’s legacy. He plans to raise his own offspring in the way she raised himself and his brother. “There’ll be a time and a place to bring George up and understand how he fits in the world,” he told the BBC in 2016. “But right now it’s just a case of keeping a secure, stable environment around him and showing as much love as I can as a father.”

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And Harry, after all, is a father now, too. In May 2019 he and Meghan welcomed into the world their first child – a baby boy named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Thus, Archie has a surname but no title. People have speculated that Harry and Meghan have opted not to hand him one so he can have a more normal existence – just as Diana had wanted for her two boys.

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It remains to be seen whether Harry and Meghan will ever give Archie a younger sibling, mind you. Harry has implied in the past, though, that he wouldn’t mind having more than one child. And if that happens, it’s pretty likely that Harry will raise them the way his mother nurtured him and William – not allowing one adolescent to feel more important than the other.

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