Princess Diana had Prince William in 1982, a year after her wedding to Prince Charles. As a senior working royal, she had to hire assistance in raising her firstborn son.
Although the public knew her as a “hands-on” mother and even deemed her to break royal traditions by being one, she had a few helping hands to take care of her children, as well as her other responsibilities.
She hired Barbara Barnes following the birth of Prince William. After years of serving, though, “jealousy” reportedly grew, and tensions became apparent between the two women. The late Princess then “dismissed” the royal nanny and did not even allow to say goodbye to the young princes, according to the Daily Express.
Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting, Anne Glenconner, recommended Barbara Barnes to Princess Diana. The recommendations came after Barnes nursed Glenconner’s five children “with intelligence and care.”
The Princess of Wales followed suit as she hired her. One royal biographer dubbed her as a “surrogate mother” to the young Wales Princes. Writing in his new book, Battle of Brothers, Robert Lacey claimed that Barnes, who the royal siblings called “Baba,” taught them to “walk,” talk, and even “read.”
While she initially thought that there would be no difficulties in bringing up royal babies, this turned out to be not the case. Lacey said that the royal nanny “rapidly” discovered that she also had to care for the 21-year-old Princess “as much as” to Prince Harry and Prince William.
The Daily Mail serialized Robert Lacey’s Battle of Brothers ahead of its release on October 15. Based on the excerpts, he said that Barbara Barnes “spent more and more time” with the young Wales Princes.
When Princess Diana continued to suffer from her mental health conditions, the royal nanny allegedly “stepped in” to assert control. One source even said that she guarded the nursery floor “like the Vatican,” adding that it was her kingdom.
As the situation went on, “less admiring observers” saw that Barnes was becoming “too possessive” of Prince William and Prince Harry. The Princess of Wales, later on, shared this kind of thinking, causing her to fire the royal nanny.
The book continues that the late royal “dismissed” Barbara Barnes after thinking that the nanny went “above” herself. Princess Diana did not allow her to “say the slightest word of farewell” to the young Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, and even forbid her to send postcards.
Featured image courtesy of Robert Sullivan/Flickr
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