It’s easy to forget that Prince William, the future king, had a tragic childhood. He lost his mother, Princess Diana, at a very young age, and in the years prior to that sad loss, had to deal with his parents’ bitter divorce.
Although it seems as though Prince William has been able to take what he has learned from those experiences and use them to become a more caring, understanding man and father, the difficult years took their toll on him. A new book chronicles those early years in Prince William’s life and some sad insights that he shared with Princess Diana.
Why did Prince Charles and Princess Diana decide to divorce?
Prince Charles and Princess Diana got married in 1981, in a grand ceremony that made headlines all over the world. Princess Diana was a stunning bride in a custom dress, and Prince Charles was a beloved member of the royal family. Everyone believed that their love would last, and that belief was further cemented when the couple went on to welcome two little princes.
However, the seeds of turmoil were being sewn even on that beautiful wedding day. Prince Charles was in love with another, although their relationship would not be revealed for another few years. Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles carried on an affair for years, and reportedly, Princess Diana was well aware of it. Still, the couple stayed married for close to fifteen years. Eventually, the strain of the affair, as well as being caught in the public eye, took a toll: The royal couple split in 1996.
What did Prince William think about his parents’ divorce?
Prince William was a teenager when his parents split up, old enough to see and understand the emotional toll that the divorce was taking on Princess Diana. She was very close to both of her boys and the divorce would completely change their dynamic. In fact, at one point, Prince William reportedly didn’t want to speak to Princess Diana, considering her tell-all post-divorce interview completely inappropriate.
In spite of that snafu, Prince William would always ultimately support his mother. A new book reveals that Prince William didn’t understand why the royal family was so bitter towards Princess Diana following the divorce and at one point, even asked her if he really had to be part of this family. It seems as though Prince William, at that moment, understood that for him to be a successful monarch, he would need to reinvent what it meant to be a compassionate ruler.
How does his childhood affect Prince William’s plans for the monarchy?
There’s no question that Prince William has always had the weight of the world on his shoulders. After his mother died, that weight only increased, but he has managed to cope with the pressures of fame and the knowledge that he is destined to someday be king with grace and dignity. In college, he met Kate Middleton, the woman who would go on to become his wife and the mother of his children. According to many reports, Prince William is an incredible father and follows his mother’s example of trying to give them “normal” lives that include lots of play, learning, and fun.
It seems as though those difficult days of divorce and heartbreak had a positive outcome after all: Prince William learned that the monarchy isn’t always infallible and that the best way to deal with many difficult situations is through compassion and understanding. He might not become king for many years yet, but it looks like he will certainly be a great ruler.