Prince Philip Stepped Up Big Time for Prince Harry and Prince William Following Diana's Death
It's been 21 years to the day since Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident, but her legacy lives on thanks to her children, Prince William and Prince Harry, and their respective wives, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. But things weren't easy for the boys in the immediate aftermath of her death.
Following the tragedy, the royals took refuge in Balmoral Castle in Scotland (where 5-year-old Prince George participated in his first grouse hunt just days ago), and there was an intense focus on keeping them sheltered from the sensational news cycle ravaging on outside the walls.
Per the queen's request, all radios and TVs were removed from the castle so that none of the insidious headlines, speculation, or invasive paparazzi images would be seen by the impressionable young princes, who were just kids at the time.
According to Tina Brown, the former Vanity Fair editor who published The Diana Chronicles in 2007, it was Prince Philip who really took Harry, then 12, and William, then 15, under his wing.
"A member of the Balmoral staff noted that Prince Philip, who effectively lost his own mother at the age of ten when she was committed for three years to an asylum in Switzerland, was brilliantly effective with his grandsons, offering them gruff tenderness and outdoor activities like stalking and hiking to tire them out," she writes.
Though he has a less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to sensitivity on matters like gender and race, Prince Philip is beloved by a number of members of the Palace staff, so we aren't too surprised to hear that he has an affable and consoling manner as well.
Additionally, when Diana's service was being planned and discussions arose of how the boys would be involved, Prince Philip again acted in their best interest.
"Stop telling us what to do with the boys," he reportedly said, according to Brown. "They've lost their mother! You're talking about them as if they are commodities. Have you any idea what they are going through?" He was also the one who comforted William after the 15-year-old lamented that he didn't want to walk in the procession, which he referred to as "a bloody parade."
"If I walk, will you walk with me?" said Philip.
The queen, on the other hand, was not known for a particularly warm or comforting disposition in the wake of Diana's death. Despite her best intentions, Queen Elizabeth was lamented by the press and the public, both of which believed she may have gone too far in sheltering the boys.
"So concerted was the family effort to leave the boys no time alone with their feelings that they had little space to grieve at all," writes Brown. "Such was the Windsor way."
But it wasn't just the boys that queen was accused of neglecting — the people of England, too, thought that she could have done more to honor Diana's legacy by speaking directly to her subjects. "All week [after Diana's death] we wanted the queen to say she was suffering with us, but she didnt do it," one mourner is quoted in Brown's book.
In the years following, the queen had to work diligently to rehab her image. But now, 21 years later, we'd say she's found a way back into the good graces of the British people.