Prince William and Prince Harry had an extraordinary upbringing, I think we can all agree. They shared some wonderful years with their mother, Princess Diana, and father, Prince Charles.
Then everything changed on one fateful night when Diana passed away after that tragic car accident in Paris.
It soon became apparent that William and Harry’s lives were forever going to be changed. That said, by all accounts Queen Elizabeth made it clear from the off that she was never going to let her grandchildren down.
Despite the Royal Family members having particular traditions and a very specific way of behaving in front of others, their relationships with one another also have a very human side. A touching handwritten letter written by the Queen to a young William was recently revealed when it was sold and auctioned.
It serves as evidence, above all else, that the two had a very close bond.
Queen Elizabeth’s passing was a very sad moment for millions of people. Naturally, it took its heaviest toll on her closest family members. Now-King Charles, Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince William, and the rest of the Royal Family mourned the Queen for weeks. It’s probably safe to assume that they still are.
Yet life must go on, and now the royals are back to work as usual, albeit with some significant changes. When the Queen passed, her primary duties and engagements passed over to King Charles, which in turn meant that Charles’ many engagements passed to Prince William.
As a future king, William has been preparing for life on the throne for his entire life. Hopefully, he won’t have to take on the role for many years.
During her life, Queen Elizabeth created unique relationships with many of her close family members: siblings, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Of course, some bonds were more intimate and stronger than others, but ultimately everyone loved the Queen.
One person that formed an extraordinary bond with Her Majesty over the years was Prince William. As with Charles, she knew the importance of giving him the best and most proper education in royal subjects given that he would one day become King.
Queen Elizabeth created a loving relationship with Kate Middleton as well, though she was initially said to have harbored concerns about her becoming William’s wife.
Let’s take a closer look at the close bond between the Queen and her grandson, William, which remained strong right up until the end.
Though Queen Elizabeth must have been delighted when William was born in 1982, it also presented a number of challenges.
The future king was to be schooled in the art of ruling, learning everything about life in relation to the Crown’s duty. As it happens, William and Kate are now doing their best to provide the same education to their eldest son and eventual heir to the throne, Prince George.
William was born two years before Harry, but both brothers had a wonderful childhood. Their mother, Princess Diana, knew the importance of the young princes’ future, but more importantly, she understood that – even though they weren’t like other children – they had to be given a childhood that was as close to normal as possible.
Diana often took William and Harry to theme parks and other public venues. Of course, she knew what royal life entailed, including the fact that they had meals served to them at all times and were expected to behave like proper royal children.
Yet she was also aware of the importance of William and Harry getting the chance to grow up without being bereft of the things other children take for granted. With this in mind, she would occasionally sneak them out of the palace to go and get fast food.
“And I said, ‘Oh my God – your Royal Highness, I can do that, I can do burgers.’ And she said, ‘No, it’s the toy they want.’”
But did William’s upbringing lead to some negative consequences?
Queen Elizabeth thought young William was “a brat”
According to the royal author and expert Tina Brown, it may be so, at least where Queen Elizabeth was concerned. As a youngster, William spent a lot of time around the Queen, but she reportedly wasn’t so taken with his attitude.
“As a toddler, [William] had been a cause of concern to the Queen when he showed signs of being a brat. She complained to her husband that their grandson was ‘out of control’ and needed a stricter nanny. She was not amused that he loved to say, ‘When I am king, I’m going to make a new rule that…” Brown wrote in her book The Palace Papers.
“By the time he was four, he had the unattractive habit of yapping at his nanny, Barbara Barnes, ‘No one tells me what to do! When I am king I will have you punished.’”
When William was six years old, Brown adds that the young Prince “seemed to absorb their appointed destinies. It’s as if nurture kicked in over nature, and they traded personality traits. Duty and responsibility were drilled into the heir to the throne—subduing his boisterousness—while Harry became the skinny, exuberant imp of misrule.”
Despite the horrible car accident that took their mother’s life, William and Harry managed to grow up into respectable men thanks to the love and support of their family.
When Princess Diana died, the Royal Family was, of course, in shock. Though Diana and Charles had divorced at the time, her eldest son, William, would one day become King, and Harry would also have an essential role within the monarchy.
The Queen protected Prince William & Harry after Diana’s passing
The day Diana passed away, William and Harry stayed with their grandmother, the Queen, at Balmoral in Scotland. The children were asleep when the news broke. When they woke up, Queen Elizabeth knew how important it was to protect the two princes, who had just turned 12 and 15.
She instructed her staff at Balmoral to let the young boys sleep in before telling them to hide all the TVs and radios in the Castle. Then, when they went to church the following morning, Her Majesty forbade everyone from mentioning Diana’s passing.
The Queen became a significant figure for William and Harry. Growing up, she developed into a maternal figure for them, and their bond became more vital by the day. When the Queen turned 90 in 2016, William paid tribute to his grandmother, explaining the importance of her being there for him in the most traumatic moment of his life and onwards.
“Having lost my mother at a young age, it’s been particularly important to me that I’ve had somebody like the Queen to look up to and who’s been there and who has understood some of the more complex issues when you lose a loved one,” William said.
“She’s been incredibly supportive and I’ve really appreciated her guidance.”
William said in his first public statement after the Queen’s passing: “She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life.”
Touching Christmas letter to William
Despite the Queen and William not seeing each other all the time when he was young, she always remembered to take care of them and do the little things that any grandmother would for their grandchildren.
When William was just a young boy, Queen Elizabeth decided to surprise her grandchild with an enclosed advent calendar. Together with the calendar, she sent him a handwritten letter.
The note read: “William, I hope you enjoy opening this each day,” and was signed by Granny.
The small note was auctioned off by RR Auction in Boston in 2016 after it was sold to the company by one of Princess Diana’s former employees, the Daily Mail reported.
A spokesperson from the auction house described it as “a seldom-encountered piece of correspondence from within the royal family, enhanced by its fitting Christmastime association.” It was estimated to be worth around $1,500.
"William, I hope you enjoy opening this each day, Granny"- A card written in the hand of #QueenElizabethII & sent to the young #PrinceWilliam obviously along with an advent calendar. It was purchased from a former employee of #PrincessDiana. pic.twitter.com/qo6j882yUb— Royal Household Mail 🇬🇧 🇺🇦 (@RealRoyalMail) October 25, 2022
William grew up and went on to study at St Andrews University in Scotland, where he met the love of his life, Kate Middleton. The two became good friends at first before their relationship intensified.
The two started dating, and in 2006, Kate made her first royal appearance as William’s girlfriend.
“She wants to make sure everyone is happy”
Despite their breakup a year later, the two managed to get back together, marry, and bring three beautiful children into the world. Queen Elizabeth was very fortunate to spend plenty of time with her great-grandchildren, Prince George, Prince Charlotte, and Prince Louis, before her passing.
“She puts family very much alongside her duty and her role, and it’s what makes her tick. She works very hard and she sees her service as very important, but behind closed doors, she worries and minds an awful lot about the rest of the family, and wants to make sure everyone is happy and finding their own path and being a success,” William said in 2016.
“She’s always been extremely loving towards the children and I see that now with Charlotte and George, she’s very doting on the children, and likes to keep an eye on them, particularly Charlotte, she’s fascinated by what Charlotte gets up to.”
It was early on in William and Kate’s relationship that people at the palace were introduced to the now-future Queen.
The Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth, knew that if Kate was the woman William was to marry, they needed to help her and assist in her education concerning royal life.
According to royal author Katie Nichol, citing a royal aide, staff at the palace coached Kate on several things, including the media.
Queen Elizabeth invited young Kate Middleton to Balmoral
“William said we had a duty of care to her and her family, and so we advised her on how to deal with the cameras,” the aide said.
“We told her to smile at the photographers so that there would be a better picture. She was given advice on how to manage the media, and we were there to support her if there was a crisis.”
In her and William’s engagement video, Kate Middleton revealed that she had been very nervous about meeting William’s father, Charles. However, the Queen made sure that Kate felt welcome and invited her to Balmoral several times.
Queen Elizabeth even let Kate – who has a great interest in photography – take photos of the land and home at Balmoral. According to Nichol, Her Majesty did everything she could to make Kate feel at home.
As mentioned, however, there was a time early on in William and Kate’s relationship that things took a negative turn. The couple split up in 2007, and the Queen was worried about William.
Prince William was advised to “take his time” about his future with Kate
In a piece in Vanity Fair, Nichol wrote that William later sat down with his father, Charles, and the Queen to speak about his future with Kate. The author claimed that William was supposed to spend New Year’s Eve with Kate and her family, but changed his plans at the last minute.
Both Charles and Queen Elizabeth advised William to take his time and not rush his decision regarding his and Kate’s future. As we all know today, things eventually got back on track and had a happy ending.
When the Queen’s health started to deteriorate, William was given ever more responsibilities by Her Majesty. Today, we’re sure she is looking down on him, proud of his work as the Prince of Wales.
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