Having William made her want a big family.
Diana took to motherhood quickly. In a letter to a friend that she wrote shortly after William’s birth, she spoke of looking forward to a life filled with lots of kids.
“William has brought us such happiness and contentment and consequently I can’t wait for masses more,” she wrote.
Being a mom of two helped her cement her parenting style.
In 1985, Diana let people in on her life as a mother of two for the first time. The interview was meant to dispel the many rumors surrounding her and Charles, from discord in their relationship to Diana’s fashion spending (sound familiar?).
Diana provided some really insightful details as to what she was like as a mom. She explained why she didn’t intend to bring the children on too many royal tours around the world at a very young age.
“They must have a stable life as much as we can give. And obviously taking them around the world isn’t that. But they’re very well looked after here,” she said.
Like all moms, she couldn’t believe her kids were growing up so fast. William had started school shortly before the interview.
“I was [sad] because it’s opening another chapter in my life and certainly William’s, but he’s ready for it. He’s a very independent child,” she noted.
Diana wanted the public to know that she was trying her best, whether or not they believed it. “Most importantly, [my role is] being a mother and a wife. That’s what I try to achieve; whether I do is another thing, but I do try,” she said.
She knew the impact of divorce.
Motherhood put Diana more in touch with the needs of children everywhere. “I know that family life is extremely important and as a mother of two small boys I think we may have to find a securer way of helping our children. To nurture and prepare them to face life as stable and confident adults,” she said during a speech in 1988.
“Today, few children lose parents through early death, but many do experience that loss through divorce, and increasingly more complicated families result from separation and remarriage. For young people, family life is not always a happy experience.”
Diana was the first royal to get real about postpartum.
Princess Diana spoke out about the postpartum depression she experienced after giving birth to Prince William in 1982. She didn’t open up about the experience until 1992, when she spoke to Andrew Morton for his book, Diana: Her True Story.
“Then I was unwell with postnatal depression, which no one ever discusses, postnatal depression, you have to read about it afterward, and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time. You’d wake up in the morning feeling you didn’t want to get out of bed, you felt misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself,” she said.
“People see it as crying wolf or attention-seeking, and they think because you’re in the media all the time you’ve got enough attention, inverted commas. But I was actually crying out because I wanted to get better in order to go forward and continue my duty and my role as wife, mother, Princess of Wales.”
Diana believed in the power of hugs.
Harry melted many hearts when he recalled his mother’s hugs around the 20th anniversary of her death. “She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible and being as short as I was then, there was no escape, you were there for as long as she wanted to hold you. Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs that she used to give us,” he said.
Diana talked about her love of hugging in 1993. “Hugging has no harmful side effects. If we all play our part in making our children feel valued, the result will be tremendous. There are potential huggers in every household.”
Diana felt fiercely about her sons.
In her infamous 1995 interview with Martin Bashir, Diana had a lot to say. When asked about the issue she presented the royal family with during her separation from Prince Charles, she was blunt about the reason for standing her ground.
“She won’t go quietly, that’s the problem,” she said of the perception of the family had of her.
“I’ll fight to the end, because I believe that I have a role to fulfill, and I’ve got two children to bring up.”
She was also honest with them every chance she got.
In that same interview, Diana explained how she handled the news of Charles confirming his infidelity in an interview.
“Well, I was totally unaware of the content of the book, and actually saw it on the news that night that it had come out, and my first concern was to the children, because they were able to understand what was coming out, and I wanted to protect them.”
With that, she decided to talk to William, who was around 12 at the time.
“I went to the school and put it to William, particularly, that if you find someone you love in life you must hang on to it and look after it, and if you were lucky enough to find someone who loved you then one must protect it,” she said.
“William asked me what had been going on, and could I answer his questions, which I did. He said, was that the reason why our marriage had broken up? And I said, well, there were three of us in this marriage, and the pressure of the media was another factor, so the two together were very difficult.”
“But although I still loved Papa I couldn’t live under the same roof as him, and likewise with him.”
Her desire to protect the monarchy was only out of respect for her kids.
Martin Bashir asked Diana what she made of the public perception that she was out to destroy the monarchy.
“No, I don’t feel blame. I mean, once or twice I’ve heard people say to me that, you know, ‘Diana’s out to destroy the monarchy,’ which has bewildered me, because why would I want to destroy something that is my children’s future?”
“I will fight for my children on any level in order for them to be happy and have peace of mind and carry out their duties,” she continued.
“But I think what concerns me most of all about how people discuss the monarchy is they become indifferent, and I think that is a problem, and I think that should be sorted out, yes.”
Diana wanted to raise her sons with empathy.
Diana’s priority was to make sure that William and Harry had a worldview beyond their privilege. She would talk to them about the work she did and even bring them to meet people from different walks of life.
“I want my boys to have an understanding of people’s emotions, their insecurities, people’s distress and their hopes and dreams,” she noted.