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According to one body language expert, the “integral part” Princess Diana continues to play in Prince William‘s everyday life is evident in how he carries himself.

Royal sources have claimed that William was Diana’s confidant and that her death gave him a “steely obsession” with control. But she also instilled empathy that’s noticeable when he’s interacting with the public.

What was Diana’s relationship with William like, which of her other traits remain in him, and what other influence do royal experts think is evident in his behavior? Read on to find out.

(L) Princess Diana and Prince William in 1991 (R) Prince William receives flowers in tribute to Princess Diana in 2017
(L) Princess Diana and Prince William | Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images (R) Prince William | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Princess Diana and Prince William’s relationship

Biographer Tina Brown claimed in a book called The Palace Papers that Diana and William were extremely close and he was her most trusted confidant (per Marie Claire).

William had been exposed to the ugly side of the press before he was a teenager. Brown noted that thanks to tabloids, he read private information about his mother’s personal life. And watching her life and death play out in public left him with a “grim, steely obsession with control.”

In the documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, William said that Diana would have been a “lovely” grandmother to his children if she’d been alive to meet them. But he also added she would have been an “absolute nightmare.”

He explained, “She’d love the children to bits, but she’d be an absolute nightmare. She’d come, probably at bath time, cause an amazing scene, bubbles everywhere, bathwater all over the place, and then leave.”

Prince William has many of Princess Diana’s character traits

Though Diana died more than 25 years ago, she is still present in her family. And one royal expert said that keeping her legacy alive seems particularly important to William, who was 15 when she died.

“It’s clear from the way he carries himself that Diana plays an important and integral part in his life every day,” Darren Stanton told Marie Claire on behalf of Betfair. William has “definitely inherited many of Diana’s character traits,” he said.

“From his humanitarian work, it’s clear he’s not afraid to get his hands quite dirty, and we often see the empathy he has for others during his royal engagements,” he added. “He interacts with the public much like his mother did — often breaking protocol to greet crowds in a more tactile manner.”

Kate Middleton has also helped Prince William ’embrace his compassionate side’


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According to Stanton, Diana’s influence isn’t the only one present in William’s behavior. Kate Middleton has also helped to spotlight a softer side to the Duke of Cambridge.

Still, Diana was the one to plant the seed. “While there’s no doubt that Kate has helped William to embrace his compassionate side, even before they married, William was often seen sharing his support and patronage to many charities to do what he could to help,” Stanton explained to Marie Claire.

He added that “Kate’s  willingness when it comes to her royal duties appears to have had a big influence on the way that William now thinks.”

Showbiz Cheat Sheet acknowledges conditions and cultures can impact body language and is sensitive to all backgrounds.