How Princess Diana Once Protected Her Nieces From The Paparazzi

Famous people are often trailed by the paparazzi, but few have been harassed as much as Princess Diana. The royal died tragically in 1997 after an attempt to escape the paparazzi chasing her ended in a fatal car crash (via Biography). This is just one example of the paparazzi’s attempts to photograph the royal. Even when she was away from her home in England, they followed her in public.

Princess Diana’s nieces, Lady Amelia Spencer and Lady Eliza Spencer, recalled one such incident when the royal was visiting her family in South Africa. They were only a few years old at the time, but remember a photographer following them. Princess Diana quickly took charge of the situation, though, protecting her nieces not just from the prying eyes of the press but also shielding them from the full knowledge of what was going on.

“Obviously it could have been quite terrifying for us, being so young and not understanding what was happening,” Eliza told Tatler (via E! News). “But she turned it into a game of who could get back to the car first. It was amazing how she protected us in a way that made us feel safe and not frightened. We had no idea what she was doing at the time.”

The paparazzi were relentless in their pursuit of Princess Diana

Dealing with the paparazzi is unavoidable for popular members of the royal family, and Princess Diana worked to prepare her children for that inevitability. While she may have been able to protect her nieces, she knew that her sons would need to learn to deal with the press. In the documentary Diana and the Paparazzi, Princess Diana’s bodyguard, Ken Wharfe, recalled how she prepared Prince William for his first day of school. “Her first conversation that morning was ‘William when we arrive at the school there’s going to be a lot of press, okay? And I want you to behave yourself,” he said.

Prince William was not comfortable with being photographed, but Princess Diana reportedly told him, “Well you’d better get used to it because it’s going to be with you the rest of your life.”

Princess Diana was resigned to the ever-present paparazzi, but it took an emotional toll on her. Prince William recalled the impact that the press had not just on his mother but also on him and his brother, Prince Harry. “‘I sadly remember most of the time she ever cried about anything was to do with press intrusion,” he said in a 2017 documentary Diana: Our Mother (via Time). “Harry and I, we had to live through that.”

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