Prince Harry ‘Idolized’ Princess Diana and ‘Understood Her Less’ Than Prince William, Royal Author Claims

Royal author Tina Brown explores Prince Harry and Prince William’s relationship with their mother Princess Diana in her upcoming book The Palace Papers. She noted the ways Harry and William viewed their mother, including the way Prince Harry “idolized” Diana.

Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles attend The Vj Day 50Th Anniversary Celebrations In London
Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles | Antony Jones/Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images

Royal author believes Prince Harry ‘idolized’ Princess Diana

In a book excerpt published in Vanity Fair, Brown shares how Prince William and Prince Harry were “collateral damage” when it came to their parents’ relationship.

“From their earliest childhood, William and Harry were collateral damage in a cold war between their parents, one that could turn hot in front of them in alarming ways,” she wrote.

Their ages gave Harry and William different perspectives of Diana. “The two-year age gap between them was critical in forging their distinctive world views and, equally so, in shaping their perceptions of their mother,” she explained.

“Prince Harry idolized Diana more and understood her less,” Brown added.

Prince William knew about Diana’s lovers

In the book, Brown touched on Prince William’s struggle as a teenager when he was at school and his mother’s personal life was on display.

The author shared that Diana had a romantic relationship with rugby player Will Carling and one way William processed it was by putting a picture of Carling’s wife on a dartboard at school.

Brown referenced Diana’s 1996 interview with Piers Morgan, the details of which Morgan shared in his own book, such as having permission to ask “literally anything.” They discussed Carling during the interview.

Brown noted in the excerpt: “It suggests that her boundaries were dissolving and, with them, her judgment. Not only was William used to hearing about her lovers, as Morgan notes, but he’d also found a way to deal with it at school.”

The author continued, “Tacking Julia Carling’s image onto a dartboard was a gesture of loyalty to his mother that also announced he knew exactly what the other boys were whispering about.”

Further, Brown said William was Diana’s “most trusted confidant” and knew of her “volatile love life.”

“He [William] was privy to her volatile love life. He knew the tabloids made her life hell, but he also knew she colluded with them,” she wrote. “By his early teens, he was his mother’s most trusted confidant. She used to describe him as ‘my little wise old man.'”

Prince Harry was only 11 years old and not in the know about his mother’s private life.

Expert explains how Prince Harry and Prince William view the press

Diana’s experience with the press naturally influenced Prince Harry and Prince William’s views on the media.

“Her [Diana] sons express their lasting contempt for the press in different ways: William with a grim, steely obsession with control; Harry with tortured, vocal, frequently ill-judged condemnation, a never-ending flurry of lawsuits, and, finally, a burn-it-all-down gesture that his mother — who, despite her yearning to be free, held tight to her diadem — might have well understood,” Brown wrote.

Following an investigation into Diana’s 1995 Martin Bashir interview, Prince William shared his thoughts on how the interview impacted his family.

“It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained substantially influenced what my mother said,” Prince William said in a statement. “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.”

He continued, “It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia, and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.” 

William added, “But what saddens me most is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she’d been deceived.”

Prince Harry issued a statement as well, noting, in part: “The ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life. To those who have taken some form of accountability, thank you for owning it. That is the first step towards justice and truth.”

He added, “Our mother lost her life because of this, and nothing has changed. By protecting her legacy, we protect everyone and uphold the dignity with which she lived her life. Let’s remember who she was and what she stood for.”

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