Has Princess Diana Influenced Prince William and Kate Middleton’s Parenting Approach?

Prince William and Kate Middleton seem to have a handle on parenting, as there are few instances that the media or public have criticized them for the way they’re raising their three children. Do Prince William and Middleton follow the parenting style of the duke’s late mother, Princess Diana?

Prince William and Kate Middleton with children
Prince Louis, Prince George, Prince William, Princess Charlotte, and Prince William and Kate Middleton | Samir Hussein/WireImage

Princess Diana wanted her kids to have a normal life

In much the same way that Princess Diana hoped that Prince William and Prince Harry would have a relatively normal upbringing, despite their fame as members of the royal family, William and Middleton are following that example.

In the ITV documentary Secrets of the Royal Babies: Meghan and Harry, royal biographer Duncan Larcombe shared that Princess Diana wanted her sons to have a “normal and private life” and it’s evident that Prince William and Middleton have this same approach, taking extra measures to keep their children out of the spotlight.

Larcombe further explained: “Diana made sure William and Harry lived as much as a normal life as possible and as parents, William and Harry will always be influenced by their mother. Her desire to give them a taste of normality runs through the veins of William and Harry.”

Prince William described his childhood

In a 2012 interview with Katie Couric, Prince William discussed the impact Princess Diana had on their lives, sharing: “She played a huge part in my life and Harry’s growing up, in how we saw things and how we experienced things.”

He continued, noting: “She very much wanted to get us to see the rawness of real life. And I can’t thank her enough for that, ’cause reality bites in a big way, and it was one of the biggest lessons I learned is, just how lucky and privileged so many of us are — particularly myself.”

Princess Diana’s chief of staff for six years, Patrick Jephson, told ABC News some examples of how Diana attempted to keep things normal for her boys, sharing: “She made sure that they experienced things like going to the cinema, queuing up to buy a McDonalds, going to amusement parks, those sorts of things that were experiences that they could share with their friends.”    

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Prince William and Middleton’s kids ‘are having fun’

Royal fans can definitely see that Prince William and Middleton have been influenced by Princess Diana’s parenting.

A source told PEOPLE: “The Cambridge kids are really lively,” adding, “You can see Kate is a great mom. Clearly the kids are having fun.”

When Princess Charlotte was caught playfully sticking out her tongue at William and Middleton’s charity sailing race last week, the duchess was relaxed, laughing at the chid’s behavior rather than scolding the princess. A longtime royal observer remarked: “Kate just handled it wonderfully. She just laughed, and it was really lovely to see. For once you looked at them and thought, ‘They’re a family,’ rather than ‘the royal family.’”

William is hands-on as well, “very much the modern dad,” PEOPLE reports, pointing to how he gets down to his children’s level to practice “active listening.”