Princess Diana Felt Prince Charles Could Not Handle People’s Emotions Well Because of His Childhood

It is well-known that Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage did not last. There seems to be several reasons for the breakdown of their marriage, with Charles’ extramarital affair being a famous one. However, Diana herself has also attributed their fraught relationship to Charles’ childhood and inability to handle emotions. In fact, she has even referred to it with the phrase “emotional retentiveness.”

Prince Charles’ childhood allegedly lacked affection

It has been said that royal parenting back in the days did not involve a lot of affection.

For one thing, Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne when she was only 26 years old and Charles was a toddler. As such, her royal duties took her around the world, leaving Charles in the care of nannies. Prince Philip also had an “alpha male” personality and did not believe in being emotionally affectionate with his children.

Although Her Majesty and Prince Philip might have loved and cared for young Charles, their household was reportedly more stiff and formal than most other families.

Princess Diana thought Prince Charles’ childhood led him to not know how to handle emotions

Prince Charles and Princess Diana
Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1985 | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

According to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, Diana believed Charles’ childhood played a huge role in him not being able to handle other people’s emotions. Seward, who spoke to Diana before her death, says Diana called it “emotional retentiveness.”

“Diana reckoned that if Charles had been brought up in the normal fashion, he would have been better able to handle his and her emotions,” Seward said, as reported by the Daily Mail. “Instead, she said, his feelings seemed to have been suffocated at birth.”

Seward added, “According to her, he never had any hands-on love from his parents. Only his nannies showed him affection but that, as Diana explained, was not the same as being kissed and cuddled by your parents, which Charles never was. When he met his parents, they didn’t embrace: they shook hands.”

Prince Charles’ sons are raising their children differently


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Diana was the opposite of Charles. She was openly affectionate with her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who are now raising their children in a similar manner.

Both William and Harry seem to be hands-on parents who do not give their children to a team of nannies. Additionally, they are proponents of mental health, which means they are likely to care about their children’s physical and mental well-being.

Martina Mercer, an expert on parenting, told Express that William’s wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge seems to understand well how to interact with children with love and care.

“She’s a mother we can all relate to as she simply wants to bring up children who are respectful, well mannered, but above all, happy and loved,” Mercer said. “Even though she has an army of helpers who would happily take care of the children full-time for her, she forgoes this regularly in order to be an integral part of the children’s upbringing.”

Mercer continued, “She has also tried to maintain the strong mother/child bond she’s formed with them since birth.”