How Princess Diana Was a Parenting Role Model for Prince Harry

Princess Diana and Prince Harry
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

When it comes to parenting, there are a few lessons Prince Harry can learn from his late mother, Princess Diana.

Before her tragic death in August 1997, the Princess of Wales split her time between making royal appearances with her then-husband, Prince Charles, and raising the Duke of Sussex and his older brother, Prince William.

Like Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, Diana was constantly in the spotlight. The births of her two children with Charles made national headlines, along with the couple's royal parenting techniques. Now, ET takes a look at some of the parenting lessons Diana instilled in her sons as Harry and Meghan patiently await the arrival of Baby Sussex.

1. It's OK to parent your own way.

According to ABC News, Diana is largely reported to be the first within the royal family to breastfeed. "That's hard for us to know for certain, but Queen Victoria was adamant that she found breastfeeding disgusting," royal correspondent Victoria Arbiter said. "She didn't really enjoy any part of being pregnant, yet she had nine children."

The outlet also reports that when Diana gave birth to William on June 21, 1982, it was in a hospital, which made him the first heir to the throne to be born outside palace walls. Later, he also reportedly became the first heir to the throne to attend public school.

2. Do your best to give them a "normal" life.

Arbiter added that Diana's decision to take William and Harry "outside the palace walls" is part of her long-lasting legacy.

"She made sure that they experienced things like going to the cinema, queuing up to buy a McDonalds, going to amusement parks, those sorts of things that were experiences that they could share with their friends," Princess Diana's former chief of staff, Patrick Jephson, once told ABC. "It was a very difficult dilemma for Diana to prepare them for the very distinctive, unique life that they have had to lead. And she did it very cleverly, I think."

A source told ET late last year that Meghan and Harry are already determined to give their children as "normal an upbringing" as possible.  "Meghan and Harry, who want to use their platform and profile to further their humanitarian and charitable interests, want to pass on those same values to their children," the source said at the time. "They plan to spend a considerable amount of time in their Cotswold home and [Meghan's mother] Doria Ragland will have a prominent role in their family as the children's grandmother." 

"Their children are expected to one day have regular jobs, and will be raised to appreciate the differences in society," the source added. "They will have a healthy respect for boundaries like other children. They will have chores at home and be brought up with respect."

3. Make them feel valued.

While presenting 20 young people with the inaugural Legacy Award in Princess Diana's honor in 2017, William and Harry spoke of their mother's commitment to "doing good while no one is watching."

Prince Harry remembered his mother achieving a lot in the spotlight, but said she "worked just as hard" when the cameras were gone, something he'll never forget and hopes to pass on to his own children.

"Our mother once said that if we all play our part in making our children feel valued, the result will be tremendous," he continued. "This result was tremendous."

4. Give them unforgettable hugs.

Princess Diana is quoted as once saying, "Hugs can do great amounts of good -- especially for children."

And it's true! Harry will never forget the warm embraces he used to receive from his mother. "She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible," he recalled in My Mother Diana, a royal family documentary. "Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs that she used to give us."

5. Be playful.

She may have been the Princess of Wales, but if photos prove anything, it's that Diana wasn't afraid to let go and just be a mom to her two children, despite the royal family's strict rules. See below for just a few examples of all the memories she created for William and Harry:

Princess Diana with William and Harry as babies
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Princess Diana With Harry and William
Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images
Princess Diana with William and Harry
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Princess Diana with William and Harry
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Princess Diana with William and Harry
Kent Gavin/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
Princess Diana with harry and william
Tim Graham/Getty Images


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