Lady Diana broke tradition by raising Princes William and Harry. If the wife of Prince Charles wanted to be involved in the daily life of her sons, she was however helped by nannies, chefs and other professionals. When Prince William was born, Lady Diana hired Barbara Barnes as a nanny. In her only brief contact with the press, the latter said she saw no particular problem in raising a royal baby: “I treat all children as individuals … I am here to help the princess, not to take over.” However, she also had to take care of Prince Charles’ wife. While the latter suffered from bulimia and self-mutilated, Barbara Barnes thus took control of the situation.
As children, Princes William and Harry tended to wake up at dawn, so Baba, as they called him, would take them to his bed most mornings to play, before giving them their breakfast and bringing them along. to their parents when they woke up. Lady Diana would take over if she had no work to do. As she had an increasingly busy social life, Barbara Barnes spent more and more time with the boys, and became a kind of surrogate mother, especially to Prince William who had been her solitary load for two years before the arrival of his brother. Thus, she taught the boys to walk, talk and read, but also comforted them when they had nightmares in the middle of the night. While the nanny was devoted to her job, observers felt that she became too possessive with the boys. Lady Diana thus became jealous of Barbara Barnes and felt threatened by her bond with her children.
William and Harry couldn’t say goodbye to their nanny
Lady Diana decided to do without the services of Barbara Barnes when Princes William and Harry were four and two years old. During Sandringham’s Christmas holidays, the pretty blonde didn’t say a word to the nanny again before informing her that it would be better if she left. Highgrove Housekeeper Wendy Berry recalled, “One weekend she just wasn’t around.” Lady Diana had indeed given instructions for the nurse’s bags to be wrapped and all traces of her removed. No one has ever seen her again. A surrogate mother to the two princes, Barbara Barnes was not allowed to say goodbye to them. He was even forbidden to send them a postcard!
Lady Diana and her sons, Princes William and Harry © ALPHA AGENCY