Princess Diana's Children
Dreadful headaches, stomachache, dizziness, nausea after every bite! Why must a woman be so ill, just because she's pregnant?
Diana couldn't understand it. She was, after all, pleased about the baby. Finally she would have a task which totally suited her. Yet, on 5th November 1981, just four months after the wedding, as the Queen officially confirmed her daughter-in-law's pregnancy, Diana's peace came to an end. Innumerable greetings cards were sent to the palace. "The whole world is watching my stomach", Diana complained at the time. The media circus, which was already very oppressive anyway, grew to really unimaginable proportions. And it was clear what the people, kingdom and crown wanted: a son, heir and future king!
Diana didn't feel like celebrating. She felt ill! The Queen showed her concern and considerably reduced the number of Diana's official appearances. It was a very fearful time for Prince Charles. He saw his wife suffering and didn't know how he could help her. Why couldn't Diana pull herself together? She was, after all, not the first woman to ever have a baby! Time again Diana managed to keep her composure in public.
The entrance to St. Mary's Hospital had been occupied for days by photographers and onlookers. Half the world was in delivery fever, the newspapers didn't know any other theme any more.
"I believe that the whole of England lay with me during labour", Diana later said, my fears, and also the pressure which weighed upon me, were dreadful.
On 21st June 1982 Diana brought a healthy baby in to the world. Hurrah, it was a boy! William, the heir to the throne! Her hotel room was like a sea of flowers, red roses everywhere. The Princess was totally exhausted, but very, very happy. It was a difficult birth, which took a very long time. But the suffering was very soon forgotten, now the only thing that counted was the sweet baby in her arms. One could hear the jubilant calls from outside: "long live Diana!"
She remained just one day in the hospital. As Charles and Diana stood cradling the baby before the door to the clinic, the crowd applauded and one called out: "Do it once more, Charles!" Relieved smiles on all faces. It was completed, the photographers had their pictures and they could drive home.
Diana took a complete rest. A nanny and an infant nurse cared for tiny William. Charles was so excited by his son and heir, that was not able to take his eyes from him. He gave his wife a small diamond necklace as a sign of his thanks and happiness. But he forgot to give her the necessary attention and love needed.
Diana then suffered from a terrible post-natal depression. She cried a lot, without knowing why. Often she spent an entire day in bed in a darkened bedroom. She felt empty and useless. Charles couldn't understand this. Why was she not happy and contented? What was Diana lacking? Psychologists were called upon. The Queen was stunned as she heard what was happening in Kensington Palace. Why was her daughter-in-law so weak? She had everything that a woman's heart could wish for. No-one showed any understanding, neither Diana's own husband, nor the rest of the Royal Family. And time and time again she was bombarded with reproaches, time and time again she had the feeling that she was doing everything wrong. It would have been so simple to have helped her at this time. Diana needed only peace and patience. Luckily Diana was very soon able to overcome her depressive phase. She was happy about the baby and pacified it with devotion. Prince Charles was also completely crazy about the little chap, the three grew into a proper family together Diana cared very intensively for her son, despite the nanny. Charles proved a true talent in baby care. Servants happily reported that the heir to the throne had taken a bath with William.
Wills was now nine months old and his parents had to make a state visit to Australia. The journey would take six weeks. For Diana such a long separation would be impossible. She insisted on taking William with her. She also explained this to the Queen, who, as expected, categorically denied this wish. Therefore Diana threatened to stay in London with her son. She left no doubts open about fulfilling her threat. A tricky situation for Queen Elizabeth, as she knew that the Australians would be bitterly disappointed if Charles came alone. Diana remained resolute. The Queen permitted it. The Australian visit was a complete success. Storms of excitement and celebration everywhere. Diana even overcame her shyness and could, without pressure, go up to strangers and chat with them.
Even in the same year Diana became pregnant again. Charles reacted to the news with excitement. He obtained complete works about pregnancy and babies. He did not want to hear again the accusation that he could not understand the problems of an expectant mother. He fervently hoped for a cute little girl.
But on 15th September 1984 the second son Prince Harry, weighing 3118g, was born.
Diana was an inspirational mother for her sons William and Harry. They always took up first place in her life. Diana loved, protected and cared for her children more than anything. They meant everything to her. Already as a small girl Diana wanted to have at least five children. Later, as "Queen of Hearts", Diana wanted to be the mother of the nation, the mother for the poor and sick of the whole world. William and Harry were her happiness. Diana took on the role of mother with devotion and passion. She wanted her sons to live as normal a childhood as possible, even if that was often difficult to achieve.
Like every young mother Diana played and romped around with her boys, and was very careful that the nanny didn't have too much of an influence. For Diana there was never a question of letting nannies take over the child-raising - something actually routine for aristocratic families. After two dismissals the cheerful Tiggy Legge-Bourke took over the job. And now a true nanny-drama began: Diana insinuated that Tiggy played the role of hostess, flirted with her husband and took over the children. William and Harry truly loved Tiggy, and also today, after Diana's tragic death, she is a very important close contact for the pair. Diana loved having her sons to herself. She spent as much time with them as possible. Diana was a loving mother and best playmate in one person. There was no childish fun that she had not joined in with : roller skating on the long corridors in Kensington Palace, jellybaby eating competitions, log flume rides or dressing-up as ghosts using bedsheets. Sometimes the three even secretly annoyed the old servants by always hiding certain objects. Prince Charles was not always excited by the boisterous games in his house. He insisted that his sons should be made familiar with their future duties as soon as possible. This included discipline, order, first-class manners and also sobriety. Especially William should be raised after kingly principles. After all, the heir to the throne saw him as one day being his future heir.
Charles supported a strict upbringing, as a four-year-old he had already had a private teacher and several nannies. As Diana's view of child raising, education and childhood was so different, there was often friction between the married couple. Charles wanted his sons in any case to be under the care of a private teacher for the first few years. Diana insisted on a public nursery. There William and Harry could play with others of the same age. Naturally the Queen completely agreed with her son, and it was almost a miracle that the pair actually went to a nursery in central London a few times. Later Diana's sons went to the public school of Wetherby and afterwards the Ludgrove public boarding school.
Even when it is natural in high society to send the children to boarding school, it was however a painful parting for Princess Diana. Because she naturally loved to have her children around her when she was alone in the evening in Kensington Palace and felt alone. In June 1991 Prince William was accidentally hit by a golf club held by a fellow pupil at the boarding school. Diana raced to the hospital. William had a fractured skull, difficult contusions had to be operated on immediately. But Charles left the hospital to keep and engagement. The operation lasted 75 minutes. Diana didn't understand how a father how a father could leave his son alone at such a moment. As William awoke she was sitting beside him.
Diana's sons were her confidantes. She was not shy of showing her feelings openly and honestly. When Diana once sat crying on the loo, having shut herself in, and did not want to come out again, William pushed Kleenex tissues under the door to his mother. He crouched down by the bathroom door and spoke to her. Somehow he nearly always managed to get her to come out. And then he took her up lovingly in his little arms. Diana avoided criticising Charles. She also didn't mention his affair with Camilla. But she couldn't hide her tears from the children. They certainly noticed much about their mother's unhappiness. Diana always had a bad conscience about this. She knew only too well how much children's spirits suffer when their parents argue. She wanted to make it better, to save her children all their concern. Diana always had a deep concern for her youngest. He was a sensitive child, so vulnerable and quiet. Harry often spent the day dreaming, whilst William was a proper roughneck. He could be loud and wild, but also conceal a lot of things. His younger brother liked to have a cuddle. There are innumerable photos which show Diana seeking body contact with Harry. Once she strokes his hair, then she takes him by the arm, or by the hand. She always had the feeling that she had to protect him. Harry was pampered by Diana. It was her way of relieving his sadness over the broken home. With William, her beloved older son, Diana behaved differently. He was her ally, her interlocutor and advisor. When a scandal broke out in the press, she drove to his school and discussed everything with him. She explained what had happened to William, and begged for understanding. Also when it handled delicate things like the Camilla tape, the James Hewitt book, or the "octopus conversation". These must have been dreadfully difficult moments in Diana's life!
And it comforted her to know how concerned William was about her wellbeing.
Diana was a devoted mother. But it would be completely wrong to presume that Charles was a bad father. He also loved his sons and tried to make their lives as carefree as possible. He just had a different way with children. Charles couldn't give them the same tenderness as Diana. The source for this certainly laid in his childhood. As a small boy he was not allowed to show any feelings. And so it is no miracle that he wanted to raise William and Harry as proper men. Charles went hunting or fishing with them. He was proud when they caught a hare or had good grades at sport. Charles clapped his oldest on the back with a wink, as he was caught at 14 with a bottle of champagne on school grounds, and his first sexual contact with girls was talked about. He spent a part of the school holidays with his sons in Scotland, undertook long hikes and explained the beauties of nature to them. Diana preferred to fly to distant lands with William and Harry. The children always had fun with their mother: swimming in the Caribbean, water skiing in the Mediterranean, snowball fights in Switzerland. During the holidays the boys were allowed to do everything, but above all to be children. They were allowed to eat hamburgers from the packaging, read comics, play with other boys in the hotel. And this all meant a lot, when one had been born into royalty!
At home in London or also in the elite boarding school Eton they have to wear special armbands, which are tiny locating devices. In the case of a kidnapping the police can tell at once where the children of the Heir to the Throne are.
It is unimaginable how great the loss of their beloved mother is to William and Harry. The picture of how they followed their mother's coffin with empty expressions remains in the world's memory forever. And one thing is certain: if Diana had experienced that her heart would have been broken. She was always so concerned about keeping the darker side of life away from her sons.
Unfortunately Diana couldn't prevent the breakdown of her family. On the 28th August 1996 the divorce with Prince Charles was finalized. She never wanted this conclusive step. She wanted to remain married solely for her two sons, they should not have to become the product of a broken home. The negotiations with the lawyers ran with difficulty. Naturally it was about money. But not just that. She fought like a lioness over her children. Naturally she knew that the Queen of England would always have a voice in their upbringing.
But she was the mother, she didn't want to clear the field without stipulating her requirements. The result did not satisfy the Princess, but more was not to be achieved: Diana was made a divorcee, to a mother with joint custody of her sons William and Harry. She would be allowed to spend 57 days in the year alone with the children.