Prince William’s responsibilities have intensified in recent months following the departure of several senior royals and the Queen’s poor health. As second in line to the throne, William’s role in the cabinet is expected to become more involved. The prince follows in the footsteps of his father and grandmother and is known for his stoicism.
William tends to keep his emotions a secret, but Ms Brown remembers a time when the Duke expressed them in relatively unconventional ways.
In an excerpt from her forthcoming book ‘The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor-The Truth and Turmoil’, published this week in Vanity Fair, Ms Brown told the story of the Duke keeping a photo of Diana, Princess of Wales. ‘ likes his rivals on his dart board at Eton.
She described a private lunch hosted by Diana at Kensington Palace to which she invited Piers Morgan, then editor of the Daily Mirror newspaper, and her eldest son, Prince William.
Diana had recently been romantically involved with England rugby captain Will Carling, whom she had met in 1995.
Mr Carling’s wife Julia has revealed her husband’s affair with the Princess, a decision Diana was said to be ‘livid’ about.
Ms Brown wrote that during her lunch with Mr Morgan, Diana said: ‘She treats him for all she is worth, this woman.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen Will since June 1995.”
At this point, William revealed, “I keep a picture of Julia Carling on my dart board at Eton.”
“He was aware of her unstable love life.
“He knew the tabloids were making her life hell, but he also knew she was colluding with them.
“In his early teens, he was his mother’s most trusted confidant.
“She used to describe him as ‘my little old sage’.
However, William struggled with the publicity of his mother’s private life at school.
Ms Brown quoted historian Robert Lacey as saying William was ‘slumped on the couch, his eyes red with tears’, following Diana’s explosive 1995 interview with the BBC’s Martin Bashir.
Last year it was confirmed that Mr Bashir had manipulated Diana’s paranoia to get the interview.
He showed his brother, Earl Spencer, fake documents which ‘proved’ that his closest advisers had betrayed her at the palace.
Diana spoke to Mr. Bashir in order to get her own side of the story known.
Speaking about it, William said: “I think the misleading way the interview was obtained had a huge influence on what my mum said.
“The interview was a major contribution to the worsening of my parents’ relationship and has since hurt countless others.
“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the failures of the BBC contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those last few years with her.”
He described the interview as a “false narrative”.
The Palace Papers is written by Tina Brown and will be published by Century on April 26.
Buckingham Palace has been contacted for comment.