Prince William Had an Emotional Reaction to Princess Diana’s Topless Photo Scandal

Remember Princess Diana’s nude photo scandal? In case you need a recap, the royal had been sunbathing topless in Spain in 1996 when photographers snapped pictures and passed them to the media.

It was a tough moment not just for Princess Diana, but at least for one of her sons, too. Prince William was apparently extremely hurt by the scandal and, at one point, he called his mother to tell her how much it impacted him.

Prince William
Prince William | Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The duke’s detailed reaction to the scandal

Vogue publisher Nicholas Coleridge shared the details in his memoir The Glossy Years. In the novel, he reflected on how Princess Diana allegedly told him that Prince William was bullied at his boarding school, Eton College, over the scandal. He was 14 years old.

“Nicholas, can I ask you something?” Coleridge quoted Princess Diana as saying in a preview posted by The Times. “Please be truthful. Did you see the photograph of me in the Daily Mirror? The topless one?”

She added: “William rang me from Eton. Poor boy, he’s only 14. He was upset. He said some of the other boys were teasing him, saying my t*ts are too small.”

Embarrassed and hurt, Princess Diana allegedly then asked for Coleridge’s opinion on her cleavage, which left him “breathless.”

“I became breathless, and went as red as a guardsman’s tunic,” he wrote. However, he comforted her by noting that her breasts were “perfect” and “told her not to worry.”

Princess Diana replied, “Thank you, Nicholas. I knew you’d tell me the truth. Thank you, I feel better now.”

Prince William experienced a similar scandal

In 2012, photographers snapped photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless while vacationing in the south of France with Prince William. The pictures were published in French Closer magazine, prompting an invasion of privacy lawsuit from the duke.

In the end, the magazine and two of its employees had to pay the Cambridges $226,000 in damages.

St. James’ Palace said in a statement shared at the time that the incident was “reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the Duke and Duchess for being so.”

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Princess Diana passed shortly after the photo scandal

Princess Diana died on Aug. 31, 1997, after suffering major injuries in a high-speed car crash. She had been traveling with her companion, Dodi Fayed, when the paparazzi spotted and began following them.

Their driver, Henri Paul, had tried to lose the photographers, but he lost control of the car. The Mercedes S-280 limousine they were traveling in wound up crashing into a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel.

Both Fayed and Paul died instantly. (Princess Diana survived, but passed at the hospital.)

In the days that have followed, Prince William has routinely honored his late mother in speeches, at events, and more. You can read more about that here.