Viewpoint Archive. Harry and William, two princes at the school of kings

January 10, 2023 will be released Spare, the memoir of Prince Harry. On the eve of this world-awaited publication, Point of view From its archives comes an October 1991 article on the almost normal childhood of William and Harry on the sidelines of their first official visit abroad with Charles and Diana.

Nothing seemed to be surprising in the official visit of the Galles family to Canada. The English-speaking provinces of this country have a sweet loyalty to the English monarchy; his – symbolic – presence at the head of the Canadian state protects them from excessive Americanization. For his part, Buckingham rediscovers on each trip to America the living memory of the Empire that has now disappeared. But London knew how to create the event by dispatching there, William, nine years old, and Harry, seven years old, new “ambassadors” of the Crown. Fearing that it would be reproached for abusing these children, the palace had let it be known that they would be on vacation, dressed more like lumberjacks than princes, in order to better preserve them from the curiosity of the crowds. However, on the eve of the trip, the Palace released a portrait of the two boys, taken by Lord Snowdon, in which Harry and William – himself seated on a kind of wooden throne – seemed solemn and princely at will. The eldest was also to participate in an official reception and welcome the guests alongside his mother, the Princess of Wales… Here is William, first in the line of succession, about to learn his trade as king.

Viewpoint of October 31, 1991.
Viewpoint of October 31, 1991. © Point of View Collection

For William and Harry, a liberal and affectionate upbringing

Never have princes of Great Britain benefited from an education that was both so rigorous and so tender. Perfectly aware that the childhood years are essential in the formation of a human being, the Princes of Wales try to be as attentive as possible to the formation of their sons. Certainly, Charles’ schedule being particularly busy, his presence alongside his children seems more compromised than that of his wife. That said, when circumstances require or allow it, he knows how to fully assume his role as a father. On September 17, when Prince Harry’s comrades were invited to a “birthday party“organized in the gardens of Kensington Palace, the Prince of Wales, as soon as his program for the day was completed, joined his wife and her sister-in-law the Duchess of York, in order to participate in the games and the snack of the children.

A year ago, while resting after his arm accident in his beloved Balmoral, he could not be present in London during William’s mid-term vacation. In order to make up for this absence, he had the idea, with Diana, of sending a daily letter to his son by fax. His own father, Prince Philip, would certainly not have done the same. Liberal and affectionate, the education of princes nevertheless included certain rules. Good manners play a key role. We saw Diana during an official demonstration sharply reprimanding her eldest son because she thought he had thanked a woman who had just offered him a teddy bear with a little too much casualness. In the same way the two children, despite their young age, have taken to shaking hands with the tailor or the bootmaker when they come to Kensington Palace to take their measurements or deliver an order.

Viewpoint of October 31, 1991.
Viewpoint of October 31, 1991. © Point of View Collection

Control is also very firm when it comes to gifts. The toys of the little princes are nothing extraordinary and differ little from those of the children of the wealthy classes of the British population. Like all children of the computer generation, William is a fan of handheld electronic games. One of them, the “Game boy”, enjoys all his favors. As for Harry, he loves cartoons. At the start of the school year last year, we saw him proudly sporting a Bugs Bunny bag like all European children can have. Certainly there are exceptions: the Jaguar firm offered the second heir to the British Crown a model convertible which cost 60,000 pounds. But such gifts are infrequent. Emotional security, tenderness, openness to the world, politeness and deference: these are the leitmotifs of the Princes of Wales in matters of education. Their goal: to help their children develop their personality.

Two little boys with different characters

Exactly ! Can we already sketch the broad outlines of the character of these two children destined for an exceptional destiny? In Harry’s case, it’s probably still a bit early. For William, on the other hand, things are starting to become clearer. His recent and first public performances, during Saint David’s Day in Cardiff a few months ago – an event during which his parents officially presented him to the Welsh people – or during this trip to Canada, prove that the tree is beginning to bear good fruit. Particularly comfortable walking a few meters from his parents, the little prince shook hands, signed the official registers – with his first name, the traditional initials of kings – without showing shyness or excessive height. A striking contrast to the scowl his father displayed at the same age and under the same circumstances.

Viewpoint of October 31, 1991.
Viewpoint of October 31, 1991. © Point of View Collection

The efforts made by his parents to give him the most open vision of the world possible are also paying off. We learned that it was at the request of her eldest son that Diana last year visited a reception center for the homeless in the middle of the night. The little prince, upset by a documentary on television, had indeed asked his mother to do something for all these people who had no home.

As for tenderness, it is enough in this area to look at the thousands of shots taken annually by the British paparazzi to understand that in this area Charles and Diana are largely favored. At Easter last year at Windsor Castle, Hany rushed to a flowerbed to pick a bouquet of spring flowers for her mum. At Wimbledon this summer, William, sitting next to Diana in a box, couldn’t resist kissing her on the cheek in front of everyone. It is even said that in order to thank his parents for having enrolled him in Ludgrove, a school where he seems particularly happy, the same William took it upon himself to telephone the San Lorenzo, one of the favorite restaurants of his father and mother. , in order to reserve a table for them for a one-to-one dinner. England seems conquered by these touching images to which the Royal Family had not accustomed it.

Viewpoint Archive. Harry and William, two princes at the school of kings