The Heartbreaking Promise Prince William Made to His Mother, Princess Diana

Princess Diana had a notoriously difficult time with the royal family, never more so than during the last days of her marriage to Prince Charles. Leading up to the divorce, her nerves were often racked by the demands that the royal family made.

Possibly the one caveat in the divorce agreement that hit her the hardest was Prince Charles’ demand that she give up her royal title. As it turned out, this would have long-reaching implications for both Princess Diana and her sons.

Why did Prince Charles want Princess Diana to lose her title?

Princess Diana’s 1996 divorce proceedings from Prince Charles were a media fiasco. Tabloids everywhere reported the details, including the fact that Prince Charles didn’t want her to keep her title of Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales. Although the queen, Prince Charles’ mother, reportedly didn’t mind if Princess Diana kept the title, Prince Charles had made up his mind. 

With Princess Diana being stripped of her royal title, she would be referred to as Diana, Princess of Wales. The title change meant that not only would Princess Diana be separated from the rest of her family, but that she would be required to curtsey to her sons in public. Naturally, this was mortifying and humiliating, and she was likely hurt as well as deeply angry. Princess Diana’s reaction was clearly noticed by her eldest son, Prince William, and no doubt hurt him as well.

What did her sons think about it?

Reportedly, Prince William, who was 14 at the time, tried to comfort his mother by telling her that he would restore her title when he became king. Prince Harry was only about 11 at the time, so he likely wasn’t quite old enough to fully process what was going on with his parents, but the events undoubtedly made an indelible impression on Prince William.

Sadly, Princess Diana didn’t live long enough to have her title restored to her. She died in the now-infamous car crash less than a year after the divorce was finalized. The world mourned along with Princes William and Harry and watched in somber silence as they walked in her funeral procession. 

How Prince William and Prince Harry honor their mother today

Princess Diana’s memory lives on in both of her sons. Prince William and Prince Harry have gone on to become upstanding, honorable men, committed to their families and to serving the world through charitable efforts. 

One way that Princess Diana’s influence can be felt is in the way that Prince William and Prince Harry go above and beyond to protect their wives and families. Prince Harry, in particular, has had to step up and speak out when he feels as though the security and safety of his wife, Meghan Markle is at stake. Before they were married, when Meghan Markle was the subject of less-than-savory news stories and internet trolling, Prince Harry even released a statement through the palace that called for an end to the bullying, and to say that Markle deserved her privacy.

Of course, her sons continue to honor Princess Diana’s memory in the way that they parent their children as well. Prince William and Kate Middleton’s daughter is named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, and reportedly shares her grandmother’s fondness for dancing. They follow Princess Diana’s example of hands-on parenting and aren’t afraid to get down on their children’s level, just as she did. While rumors continue to swirl that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will name their child, if it is a girl, after Princess Diana, it is certain that they will raise their baby to know and love their grandmother either way.