Acclaimed Royal writer Penny Junor’s unputdownable new biography of Prince William is packed with intriguing new details, including Diana's self-harming, Harry's real dad and the reason that William took so long to get engaged to Kate – after his parent’s poor example, he didn’t think he could be faithful to just one woman.
It’s not out in the US till 4 June, but the Royalist has had a sneak peek.
Diana Didn’t Want To Tell William About the Panorama Interview
Shortly after William had started at Eton, his house master Andrew Gailey learned that the Princess of Wales was recording an interview in secret for the BBC.
Junor writes: “Concerned for his pupil, he phoned Diana and told her it was imperative to explain to William, face-to-face, what she was intending to do.
‘Is that really necessary?’ she said.
“It was, he said — but she refused to come. The next day he phoned again and was even more insistent. Reluctantly, she agreed to go to the school.
“The meeting between mother and son lasted no longer than five minutes. Diana told William that the programme she’d recorded would not contain anything controversial.
“It would make him proud of her, she assured him. And before he had a chance to ask any questions, she left.”
William was Devastated by The Broadcast
“William watched the whole programme in his house master’s study. And, not unnaturally, he was deeply upset. No child wants to hear one parent assassinating the integrity of the other, let alone talking about mutual infidelities. It was as if his mother had forgotten, as she told her story to an audience of 20 million people, that he was just a boy in his first term.”
Charles and Diana’s Sex Life Was Bad
“Within days of their engagement, Diana had changed from a happy-go-lucky teenager into a volatile and unpredictable stranger. Even the honeymoon on board HMS Britannia failed to work its magic: physically, Diana confided to friends, the marriage was a disaster.”
People Knew Diana was Unstable
“Before the marriage, no one in Charles’s camp had spotted that she was suffering from an incipient mental illness. And the people who did know kept quiet. In 1993, when the marriage was in ruins, her grandmother Lady Fermoy — who died a month later — told the Prince she’d known Diana was ‘a dishonest and difficult’ girl and wished she’d screwed up her courage to tell him he shouldn’t marry her. Even Diana’s father said shortly before he died in 1992 that he’d been wrong not to warn Charles.”
“Diana needed constant reassurance, constant attention, constant love; but the mood swings were violent and unnerving. In the blink of an eye, she went from cheerful and funny to brooding and sobbing, or furiously angry and screaming. At other times, she cut herself until she bled profusely.”
William Thought Bob Geldof Needed a Wash
“Once, William barged into a meeting his father was having with the habitually dishevelled musician Bob Geldof.
‘Why do you have to talk to that man?’ he demanded. ‘Because we have work to do,’ said his father.
‘He’s all dirty,’ said William. ‘Shut up, you horrible boy,’ said Geldof. ‘He’s got scruffy hair and wet shoes,’ said William, undeterred.”
Diana Was Open About Her Affairs
“No attempt was made to hide the fact she had lovers. Indeed, James Hewitt, a good-looking young officer in the Life Guards, became part of the boys’ lives during his five-year affair with the Princess.
“William thought the world of Hewitt. In many ways, he represented everything that small boys admire. He read them bedtime stories, took them to his barracks, dressed them in little Army uniforms and let them climb all over the tanks at Windsor.
“When he went to serve in the first Gulf War in 1991, Diana watched the TV news anxiously, with Harry beside her. But when he returned home safe the following year, she ended the affair by simply refusing to take his calls.”
Harry is Not Hewitt’s Son
“Hewitt was a redhead like Harry, and a rumour persisted that Harry was his son. It was untrue — Diana didn’t meet Hewitt until her younger son was two years old.”
William Was Uncomfortable Around Women
“Having been educated at Marlborough College, a mixed-sex public school, Kate Middleton was relaxed around men. But William, who’d been largely educated at boys’ schools, clearly found the female sex somewhat alarming — particularly in his history of art tutorials, where there were seven girls to two men.”
William Couldn’t Work in the University Library
“When it came to writing essays, however, William didn’t join other students in the library, where it was hard to escape unwanted attention. Instead, he’d do them in a room at the top of the local police station.”
William Had Doubts About Monogamy
“There were other ordeals ahead. Although only one of William and Kate’s break-ups became public, there were other times when the relationship cooled.
“The problem was William: he had very real worries about whether it was possible to love just one woman. After his hurricane childhood, he was understandably cautious about committing to a relationship.
“Their most public break-up, in 2007, was initiated by William, when he was serving with the Blues and Royals in Dorset while Kate was in London…What brought him running back, according to someone who knows him well, was jealousy. Although his girlfriend had been miserable, she hadn’t sat moping at home but had hit the town night after night, wearing a brave face and a sexy dress.”
Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King by Penny Junor, published June 4 by Pegasus Books, $27.95, 424 pages.
Sixty years and hardly a slip.