Prince Harry idolized Diana more than William but understood her less: book

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Prince Harry idolized Princess Diana more than Prince William but did not understand her as his older brother, according to a new biography by Tina Brown.

Harry and William were “collateral damage” in their parents’ divorce, but their age has given them unique perspectives, the award-winning author and magazine editor wrote.

The Duke of Cambridge, two years older than the Duke of Sussex, was ‘both a stand-in and a buffer’ when things fell apart with Charles, according to an excerpt from his book Palace papersserialized in vanity lounge.

Brown wrote: “From early childhood, William and Harry have been collateral damage in a cold war between their parents, a war which could become alarmingly hot before them.

“The two-year age gap between them was essential in shaping their distinct worldviews and, similarly, in shaping their perception of their mother. Prince Harry idolized Diana more and understood her less.”

William was aware of Diana’s famous cooperative strategy with the media, but his private life got him in trouble at school.

After his explosive 1995 interview with the BBC’s Martin Bashir, he was seen crying by a housemaster at Eton boarding school.

Brown quotes historian Robert Lacey suggesting that he was “slumped on the sofa, his eyes red with tears”.

Prince Harry and Prince William attend the unveiling of a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Palace in London on July 1, 2021. A new book by Tina Brown suggests the brothers had different perspectives on their mother .
Dominic Lipinski – Pool WPA/Getty Images

In 1996, 13-year-old William was brought to a meeting with Piers Morgan where then editor of the tabloid the DailyMirror was allowed to ask “literally anything” and an alleged affair with the famous England rugby player, Will Carling, was discussed.

She describes how the future king had a photo of Carling’s wife Julia on his dart board at Eton, telling the anecdote from Morgan’s own book.

Palace papers reads: “This suggests that his limits were dissolving and with them his judgment. Not only was William used to hearing about his lovers, as Morgan notes, but he had also found a way to manage this at school.

“Putting Julia Carling’s picture on a dartboard was a gesture of loyalty to his mother who also announced that he knew exactly what the other boys were whispering about.”

When it was revealed her husband was visiting Diana at Kensington Palace, Julia Carling fired a warning shot at the princess, saying she had ‘chosen the wrong couple’, according to the Daily Mail.

Julia added: “It would be easy to say she ruined my marriage, but it takes two to tango and I blame Will for getting involved in the first place.”

Brown said, “He [William] was aware of his unstable love life. He knew the tabloids were making her life hell, but he also knew she was colluding with them.

“In his early teens, he was his mother’s most trusted confidant. She used to describe him as ‘my little old sage’.”

Brown’s assessment of Diana doesn’t skirt the edges and she describes how the princess would let the paparazzi know about some of her public appearances.

She wrote: “Time and time again, Diana chose to invade her own private life, often for the capricious reason of making the men in her life jealous. The most unforgettable ‘stolen’ snapshot of Diana’s fateful last vacation was the famous “kiss” photo of her in clinch with the shirtless Dodi Fayed, her playboy lover, off the coast of Corsica.

“She was the one who warned Italian photographer Mario Brenna – to send a sly message to the true love of his life, Hasnat Khan.”

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Her characterization of Harry and William’s differing perspectives echoes the differences in their own words about their mother.

Harry told his Apple TV docu-series The me you can’t seewhich aired in May 2021, how much he identified with Diana.

He said: “Family members said, ‘Just play the game and your life will be easier’, but I have a lot of my mother in me.

“I feel like I’m outside the system but I’m still stuck in it. The only way to break free and escape is to tell the truth.”

However, Prince William gave a more complex assessment of his mother in a statement after an investigation revealed BBC journalist Bashir manipulated her way to get her famous 1995 interview.

During the explosive shoot, she said, “There were three of us in this wedding, so it was a bit crowded.”

William said in May 2021: “I think the misleading way the interview was obtained had a huge influence on what my mum said.

“The interview was a major contribution to the worsening of my parents’ relationship and has since hurt countless others.

“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the failures of the BBC contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those last few years with her.”

In the starkest difference between William’s view of his mother and Harry’s, he described the interview itself as a “false narrative”.

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