Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Diana's Boys Do Their Mother Proud; in Giving Her Sons the Upbringing She So Painfully Missed out on, Diana Set the Royals on a New Path

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Diana's Boys Do Their Mother Proud; in Giving Her Sons the Upbringing She So Painfully Missed out on, Diana Set the Royals on a New Path

Article excerpt

ANDREW MORTON

Diana's chosen biographer

IT'S an image Diana held in her mind's eye for years - the sight of Prince Charles, then just five years old, solemnly shaking his mother's hand upon her return to England in 1954 after a three-month visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Diana watched those flickering black and white images on TV

documentaries about the Royal Family and vowed that she would never raise her own children in such a distant manner.

When William and Harry were born she was determined that, as she told me, "they weren't hidden upstairs with the governess".

She was intent on being a hands-on mother, spending as much quality time with them as her royal duties allowed.

It even became a source of irritation inside the Royal Family.

During a visit to Balmoral, Diana was so often with her boys that the Queen snapped: "Doesn't she know there are millions of nannies here?"

Her attitude to motherhood was not just conditioned by what she described as the "unnatural" world of the Royal Family, but her own fractured childhood, which was stained by the acrimonious divorce between her father, Earl Spencer, and mother, Frances Shand Kydd.

Diana wanted her own children to be raised with love, devotion and care.

Her boys still remember that overwhelming affection. "She smothered us in love," Harry recalled for a TV documentary marking the 20th anniversary of her death.

William said: "She was very informal and really enjoyed the laughter and the fun. She understood that there was a real life outside of palace walls."

At the same time she realised instinctively that her role was much more than a loving mother.

Her function was to guide and groom her boys for their destiny, some would say doom, on the public stage.

"Harry is a back up, in the nicest possible way," she told me. …

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