Prince William screamed at his mother after watching her 1995 BBC interview

As I keep saying, most of the Princess Diana headlines these days are merely old stories repackaged for a new generation. Especially all of this stuff about The Crown, and about Diana’s 1995 BBC interview. We heard, at the time, that Prince William was not happy with his mother for giving the interview. The interview led to so many dominoes falling – shortly after the interview aired, Diana and Charles began divorce proceedings and… yeah, everything that came with that and after that.

In the immediate wake of the interview, Diana went to Eton to speak to William face-to-face about it. We knew, years ago, that William was incredibly mad at his mother about all of it. In truth, William and Diana fought a lot in the last two years of her life, which is interesting to think about now that we know William is always incandescent with rage. Back then, we just thought, oh right, mother and son are cut from the same fiery, temperamental cloth. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe William screamed at his mom from a very young age. That’s what this curious Daily Mail piece is about – it’s partly a rehash of all of those old stories, and how perhaps William is now, currently, thinking differently about all of those fights he had with his mother.

The BBC interview destroyed a lot: It ended her marriage, her royal-ness and — fatally, as it turned out in Paris — her cocoon of royal protection. But beyond that, the interview also had an extraordinary impact on her elder son, William. The implications of Diana’s revelations seem largely to have passed over the head of the younger Harry, who was then just 11 years old. But they struck young teenager William at an especially vulnerable moment.

Diana only thought about the effect the interview would have after she did it: According to Simone Simmons, the Princess’s confidante and faith-healer, it took a phone call from William’s Eton housemaster, Dr Andrew Gailey, to prompt Diana. Gailey had read the advance publicity in the newspapers and phoned to tell her it was ‘imperative’, in his view, that she should come to explain things to William, face to face. ‘Is that really necessary?’ she asked him. In another phone call from Gailey the next day, Simmons told the editor-in-chief of royal magazine Majesty, Ingrid Seward, he effectively ordered Diana down the M4 motorway to talk to her son.

William cried watching the interview: Before the 58 minutes ended, William was weeping. Gailey told Diana that he found her son slumped on the sofa, his eyes red with tears. The Prince pulled himself together to rush back to his room — but when, an hour later, Diana telephoned on the house phone, William refused to take her call. Something inside him had snapped. ‘He hated the idea of everything being on television,’ related Simmons, ‘and he knew his friends would poke fun at him, which they did. He felt she made a fool of herself — and of him.’

When William returned home: By the time he went home to Kensington Palace at the end of that week to see Diana, he was raging. ‘All hell broke loose,’ Diana told Simmons the following Monday. ‘He was furious . . . that she had spoken badly of his father, furious that she had mentioned Hewitt . . . he started shouting and crying and when she tried to put her arms around him, he shoved her away.’ Diana was getting an unpleasant personal experience of William’s notorious temper. He apologised to his mother the next day and presented her with a small bunch of flowers, but Diana sensed that some profound and irretrievable damage had been done. ‘When I saw her later,’ recalled Simmons, ‘there was a look of hopelessness on her face . . . she was still somehow convinced that he would hate her for the rest of his life.’

Harry & William remember Diana in different ways: Harry has always been uncritically proud to tread in his mother’s footsteps. He did so quite literally in September 2019 when he walked through the Huambo minefield in Angola. His passionate royal exit speech of this January — ‘there really was no other option’ — could have been written by Diana herself. But William has been more ambivalent because he was older, and thus had more first-hand experience of the manipulative role that his mother came to play in Windsor politics towards the end of her life.

[From The Daily Mail]

We knew some of this at the time – Diana treated William and Harry differently because of their ages and their positions. Diana treated William more of a friend and confidante but she actually mothered Harry. I personally think that William and Harry both got different facets of Diana’s personality – William got her temper, Harry got her emotional intelligence and short-sightedness – and that affected the way she treated them too. But anyway, just some revisionist history for the last years of Diana’s relationship with William. I remember reading a quote that after Diana’s death, the two boys were absorbed and programmed into the family and they were “fully Windsorized,” something that would not have happened had Diana lived. I feel like Harry spent years deprogramming himself. William… has not.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, WENN, Backgrid.

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