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7 Times William And Harry Reminded Us They Truly Are Diana’s Sons

Making their mother proud.

31/08/2017 08:20 BST | Updated 31/08/2017 10:09 BST

This week marks 20 years since the death of Princess Diana, an anniversary that will no doubt be felt most keenly by her beloved sons William and Harry.

The boys were just 12 and 15 when they lost their mother following a high speed car crash in central Paris.

Antony Jones/Julian Parker via Getty Images
Diana with William and Harry at the VJ Day 50th anniversary celebrations in London, 1995 

Diana has been widely credited with being the first member of the royal family to buck protocols and show a softer, somewhat mischievous side of herself to the public. As then new Prime Minister Tony Blair remarked after her death: “She was the first member of the royal family that people really felt behaved and acted like a normal human being.”

Here are seven times her sons have carried on her legacy:

William on the cover of Attitude

Last year Prince William made history by becoming the first member of the royal family to be photographed for the cover of a gay publication.

The Duke of Cambridge was the cover star in June for gay lifestyle magazine Attitude.

Attitude
Prince William became the first royal to be photographed for the cover of a gay publication 

The father-of-two spoke out on matters of bullying and mental health, stating: “No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason.

“What I would say to any young person reading this who’s being bullied for their sexuality: don’t put up with it – speak to a trusted adult, a friend, a teacher, Childline, Diana Award or some other service and get the help you need. You should be proud of the person you are and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Elton John, who sang at Diana’s funeral, has spoken warmly about the late princess’s work with the LGBT community, commending her in particular for her kindness during the Aids crisis. John told an ITV documentary: “Aids was considered to be a gay disease.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Diana comforting Elton John at a memorial mass for Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace at Milan Cathedral in July 1997

“And for someone who was within the royal family, and who was a woman, and who was straight – to have someone care from the other side was an incredible gift.”

Busting mental health taboos

Like their mother who publicly admitted battling bulimia, both princes have spoken candidly about mental health issues to encourage more people to open up – particularly men.

In April Prince William called for an end to the “stiff upper lip” culture, urging CALMzine readers: “We will all go through tough times in our lives, but men especially feel the need to pretend that everything is OK, and that admitting this to their friends will make them appear weak. I can assure you this is actually a sign of strength.” 

Calmzine
Princes William and Harry on the cover of CALMzine

That same month, Prince Harry spoke for the first time about the mental health struggles he faced following his mother’s death and revealed he sought counselling.

He said he was “very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions” and described the “quite serious effect” losing his mother had on his life.

He told the Telegraph: “My way of dealing with it was sticking my head in the sand, refusing to ever think about my mum, because why would that help?”

The prince sought help after his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, told him: “Look, you really need to deal with this. It is not normal to think that nothing has affected you.”

Last year HuffPost UK collaborated with William and his wife Kate on the ‘Young Minds Matter’ project which sought solutions for the stigma surrounding the mental health crisis amongst children in the UK.

Partying naked in Las Vegas 

In 2012 Prince Harry became a reluctant internet star when pictures of him frolicking naked in Las Vegas emerged just weeks before his deployment to Afghanistan.

The leaked pictures, in which Captain Wales was seen cupping his privates next to an unnamed naked woman and exposing his bottom, sparked a global debate on privacy.

Toby Melville / Reuters
Prince Harry was pictured partying naked in Las Vegas 

While Harry later claimed he had “let myself down” and his family, the leaked pictures also triggered a web campaign in which troops, their wives and others around the world showed their solidarity to the prince by posting naked pictures of themselves to Facebook.

Diana, who once bought William a ‘boobs cake’ for his 13th birthday, was no stranger to cheeky pranks herself and may well have been unfazed by her younger son’s indiscretion. Indeed Harry has spoken in the past of his mother’s impish sense of humour, recalling: “One of her mottos to me was: ‘you can be as naughty as you want, just don’t get caught,’”

Fiercely defending their loved ones 

Last year Prince Harry launched an extraordinary attack on the media, over its “sexist” and “racist” treatment of his American actress girlfriend Meghan Markle.

Prince Harry has publicly slammed the press over its treatment of his girlfriend Meghan Markle 

He issued a statement complaining of the “wave of abuse and harassment” she had been exposed to and expressed his bitter disappointment he had not been able to protect her.

In July, the prince proved he was serious when he won a privacy complaint against MailOnline over long-range photos of him and Markle on a private Jamaica beach.

Diana herself would often chastise the press for intruding on her children’s lives, once verbally warning a paparazzo to stop photographing them during a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria.

Challenging Usain Bolt to a race 

In 2012 Harry took on the world’s fastest man Jamaican runner Usain Bolt during an official tour in the Caribbean to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

But the Prince quite literally jumped the gun by tricking the Olympic 100m champion into looking the other way and beating him to the finish line.

PA Archive/PA Images
Fix! Prince Harry takes on Usain Bolt 

Bolt immediately called for a rematch but the third-in-line to the throne side-stepped the issue.

“He cheated,” Bolt explained later. “I said we would have a rematch and Harry said: ‘I’m busy.’”

Diana herself was no shrinking violet when it came to celebrity stunts - including the memorable time she danced with Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta at a White House gala in 1985. 

Anwar Hussein via Getty Images
Diana dances with John Travolta at the White House in 1985 as President Ronald Regan and wife Nancy look on

William’s holiday ‘dad dancing’

In March last year Prince William was publicly criticised for holidaying in Verbier while the rest of the senior royals attended a Commonwealth event in Britain.

He was filmed socialising with his friends, and “dad dancing”, as some tabloids rather unkindly put it.

TMZ
Prince William's dancing skills came under close scrutiny

While a number of publications slammed the Prince for being “idle”, royal supporters were quick to defend him, tweeting: “Prince William is allowed to laugh and dance like the rest of us. I want to see him being normal.”

It’s likely that Diana, whom it was claimed once disguised herself as a man to go out dancing in a south London gay bar with Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, would be inclined to agree.

Trash-talking with the Obamas 

In April last year Prince Harry and the then White House-dwelling Obamas engaged in some high level trash talking ahead of the Invictus Games in Florida, and even the Queen was involved.

Kensington Royal
Even the Queen got in on the joke  

The exchange saw Harry’s grandmother slap down the American president in hilarious tweeted footage to raise awareness of the event for injured servicemen.

The delightful break with royal protocol saw the Queen getting in on the joke by witheringly responding to a challenge posed by the Obamas with a wry: “Oh really, please!”, prompting her grandson to make a mic-dropping gesture whilst uttering: “Boom.”