Princess Diana's Death: Diana Would Have Guided Prince William Toward His Family Duties, Writes Royal Biographer Andrew Morton (EXCLUSIVE GUEST BLOG)
While Harry ponders his dish of the day, William has a more indigestible problem to wrestle with. One that is giving him heartache, if not heartburn.
In the next few months, he has to decide if he wants to sign on for a further five years as a Royal Navy search and rescue helicopter pilot, a job he loves, or give it all up and to be a full-time royal.
It’s at times like these that he could well do with a bit of friendly parental advice from his mother. While it doesn’t seem like it, the last week in August marks the 15th anniversary of Diana’s death in a Paris underpass with her then-lover, Dodi Fayed.
Ironically, one of the last people she spoke to was her eldest son, who wanted her advice about a photo call Buckingham Palace had arranged for him and his brother.
Now, he faces a genuine dilemma, especially as he and Kate will be moving into Kensington Palace next year and, as one courtier said, "We expect the nursery to be noisy."
If he follows his heart and signs up for a further five years, he will be leaving Kate literally holding the baby. Not only that, his departure on search and rescue missions around Britain and beyond means that Kate will be the only one working full-time for the family Firm, Prince Philip’s name for the House of Windsor.
If she were around, Diana would be steadfast in saying that he should now take his rightful place at the boardroom of the Firm. She would point out that it isn’t fair for him to expect his wife, who after all is a commoner, to undertake more royal duties than the future king. He is now 30, an age where royals in all the European houses, not just Britain, are expected to pitch in.
Who knows what the future may hold? In five years time, he could be Prince of Wales and his father King Charles III. Certainly the older generation need a hand, especially with Prince Philip’s failing health.
Diana would point out, with scarcely disguised glee, that her son and Kate are hugely popular, far more so than her ex-husband and Camilla Parker Bowles. They are the torch bearers of the future and Charles and Camilla cannot hold a candle to their bright light.
She would also remind William that to have such a position of such privilege and influence is a gift that he should use wisely to effect change for good. While a search and rescue pilot can help save individual lives -- his crew rescued two teenagers swept away by the currents last week -- his royal role touches millions.
Look no further than Diana’s landmine campaign, which has slowed to a halt since her death. Her humanitarian mission literally changed millions of lives and she would be telling her son that it was time for him to put his shoulder to the wheel full-time.
Of course, there would be personal reasons behind her argument. Not only would she enjoy seeing Charles constantly overshadowed, but she would rather have enjoyed being a grandmother sooner rather than later. She always wanted a baby daughter -- if she had married again doubtless she would have had more children -- but a grandchild is a special delight. They're fun to play with but you can also hand them back.
Diana, who would by now be spending her time between America and Britain working for an international agency like the Red Cross, would also have a few words of concern for Harry. While Gingers have more fun, she would be worried that, amidst the fuss surrounding his Las Vegas strip tease, once again Harry got into trouble when he hit the bottle. She may be wondering whether it was time for him to step away from the cocktail bar – if not the cocktail waitresses.
When he was growing up she never really had any genuine concerns for him. He had the Spencer gene, reckless, fun-loving and devil may care. He is a survivor. Doubtless he would tell her to pour herself a drink -- and calm down.
Andrew Morton shot to fame in 1992 with his book Diana: Her True Story, spilling the truth about the wretched state of the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. He recently wrote William & Catherine: Their Story, tweets @andrewmortonUK and has his own website on royal and celebrity news, themortonreport.com.
Princess Diana died 15 years ago today, after a car accident in Paris.