Princess Diana’s Death Changed How Prince Charles Approached Fatherhood

Everyone knows that Princess Diana was an amazing mom. Watching her interact with her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, plus hearing them sing her praises proves this beyond the shadow of a doubt. Diana wasn’t perfect — but she loved her sons immensely and did everything in her power to give them a normal life.

Unfortunately, Diana was tragically killed in a Paris car crash in 1997. Her death shocked the entire world, though no one suffered more than her immediate family members. Even Diana’s ex-husband Prince Charles was deeply saddened by her death. And it made him the single parent of a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old.

The Prince of Wales was forced to step up his fatherhood role once his wife died. According to his kids, he did a good job of it.

Prince Charles Prince William and Prince Harry
Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

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Everything changed for Prince Charles when Princess Diana died

Before Diana died, she was the main parenting figure in Prince William and Prince Harry’s lives. She made the major decisions when it came to schooling, extracurriculars, and so many other aspects of their upbringing. It was Diana sneaking them McDonald’s Happy Meals and helping them navigate the pitfalls of adolescence.

Then she was gone. After his ex-wife died, Charles had to figure out how to become more involved, Marie Claire reported. Royal commentator Lady Julie Montagu said in the documentary The Queen and Prince Charles: Mother and Son that Charles’s world was rocked by her death.

“We can see that in the hugging, the laughing, the cuddling that she did. After her death, it changes completely,” she explained.

Prince Charles became close his sons after Diana’s death

Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry
Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The Prince of Wales could have pulled away from his children and let the nanny fill the role as caretaker for his two sons. But to his credit, Charles took an opposite approach.

“He really stepped up in that parenting role when he needed to,” Montagu continued. Charles kept the boys secluded from prying eyes, became more affectionate to them, and tried to fill the incredible gap caused by the loss of Diana. He remains close to William and Harry even to this day.

Prince Harry appreciated his father’s efforts

Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry
Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

It’s one thing to speculate on what Prince Charles was like based on what the media reported. But we know it’s probably true because of statements Prince Harry himself made about his dad.

“One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is to tell your children that your other parent has died,” Prince Harry said during an interview for Diana, 7 Days. “How you deal with that, I don’t know.”

He continued with big praise for his father. “[Our dad] was there for us—he was the one out of two left, and he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after,” Prince Harry said. “But he was going through the same grieving process as well.”

Prince Charles had a complicated relationship with Princess Diana. However, he never let his romantic life cloud his responsibilities as a father, and his kids loved him for it.