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Prince William Learned This Important Lesson About the Press from Princess Diana

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry Visit The White Garden In Kensington Palace
Max Mumby/IndigoGetty Images
  • Before he went away to college, Prince William and the royal family made a deal with the British press to give them special access to Will in exchange for a promise not to cover or photograph him at school or on his gap year.
    • After his gap year, Will held up his end of the bargain and appeared for his first solo press conference to talk to reporters about his time off from school. But, as royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl revealed in her book Kate: The Future Queen, Will made a point not to give away too much.
      • The "rule" about not giving the press to much information was something Will learned from his mother, Princess Diana, Nicholl says. Diana had seen attempts at total candor backfire.

        Being royal comes with a lot of perks, but it also has its drawbacks, the most notable of which is the overwhelming lack of privacy. Prince William struggled with the idea of the press covering his every move in college and, thankfully, the royal family was able to make a deal with British reporters: Leave Will alone when he's on campus and we'll give you special access to him at other times.

        The deal also applied to Will's gap year, during which he was able to travel the world and experience life without the fear of constantly being pursued by the press. But, when he returned from his travels and prepared to start college, it was time for Will to live up to his half of the bargain and appear at his first solo press conference.

        In her book Kate: The Future Queen, royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl explains that Will's approach to the press had been shaped by his mother, the late Princess Diana, who died in a car crash while trying to escape the lenses of paparazzi in Paris.

        "While Charles hovered protectively, William, dressed in his jeans and a sweater that he tugged at nervously, faced the press gang. The reporters asked him about his trip to Rodrigues and how he was enjoying his gap year, while the photographers snapped away. For someone who hated the limelight, William handled the situation admirably. He had learned from his mother that saying too much could backfire badly, but he also knew he had to give the newspapers 'a line.' The reporters got their story, and pictures of the suntanned prince graced the pages the following morning."

        Will's skill with the press has only increased as he's gotten older, of course, but he still follows the "rule" he learned from Diana and never says too much.

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