Princess Diana wanted her sons to see the world through the eyes of a commoner.
Princess Diana is still remembered and revered by millions around the world. Her simplistic ideologies and kind demeanor always surprised the public and even the people around her. Though she was bound by traditions and rules, Diana always found a way to exercise what she thought was right.
It made her a rebel but one who was deeply adored and loved by the public. As a mother too, the princess stood out. While the British royal household was familiar with nannies taking care of their little ones, Diana was a hands-on mother, who wanted to imbue certain morals in the lives of her children from a very young age. So, Diana was never ready to compromise and give up her role as a hands-on mother for anyone or anything.
Years after the death of the princess, her son, Prince William remembered his mother and the way she brought them up.
In an interview with ABC News, in 2012, the prince stated, "She very much wanted to get us to see the rawness of real life. And I can't thank her enough for that, 'cause reality bites in a big way, and it was one of the biggest lessons I learned is, just how lucky and privileged so many of us are — particularly myself," according to Moms.
The princess wanted her sons to experience the "normal" life of a child and did not want them to think they were special. From the birth of her children, Diana exposed them to a normal childhood. She did it first by making the decision to take care of them personally. Though the Queen along with her husband, Prince Charles did support her parental methods, Diana stuck to it.
"Once at Balmoral, when William was very small, his nanny was on holiday so Diana was looking after him. The Queen was surprised and said, 'I don't understand why Diana has to do this; there are millions of housemaids around.' It shows the huge divide between parenting then, in Diana's era, and even today with William and Harry who are proving to be extremely hands-on fathers," said Sarah Bradford, the royal biographer.
She added, "I don’t think the Queen could understand how important it was to Diana to be a hands-on mother."
Another incident that showed how devoted she was to her children happened when Harry had to undergo surgery. Though it was just a minor case, Diana insisted on spending the night with him at the hospital. She did not want her 3-year-old to be left with a nanny. So, the determined mother slept on the floor of the hospital, according to Mirror Online.
Later, she introduced Harry and William to things that were unfamiliar to other royal kids. She waited in queues like a commoner with her children and enjoyed the rides at the Thorpe Park, an amusement park in the UK, according to Mom.
She did not dress or act like a royal but always seemed like a simple mother enjoying her time with her children. Apart from taking them to the parks, she introduced them to fast food. According to Express UK, the princess often took her sons to McDonald's to enjoy happy meals.
Royal chef, Darren McGrady recalled, "I remember the Princess came into the kitchen one day and said, 'Cancel lunch for the boys I'm taking them out, we're going to McDonald's. 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," according to Express UK. He added, "The boys loved McDonald's, and going out to pizza, and having potato skins—sort of the American foods. They were royal princes but had children's palates."
Diana's butler, Paul Burrell too claimed the visit to the fast-food chain was a “Saturday night ritual with the children.” “The three of them would nip to McDonald’s for a Big Mac and fries before coming back to watch Blind Date," said Burrell, according to Express UK.
In an interview in 1995 with the BBC, Diana spoke of why she wanted them to experience life outside their privileges. “I’ve taken the children to all sorts of areas where I’m not sure anyone of that age in this family has been before. And they have knowledge – they may never use it, but the seed is there, and I hope it will grow because knowledge is power.”
It is no doubt she managed to attain her goal.