Prince William Was "Painfully Shy" in School, Particularly After Princess Diana's Death

Prince William was "painfully shy" in school, especially after the death of his mother, Princess Diana. Royal biographer Katie Nicholl described Will's teenage social life in her book Kate: The Future Queen.

Prince William Relaxing With A Book
(Image credit: Pool/Tim Graham Picture Library)
  • After his mother's tragic death in 1997, Prince William (opens in new tab) became "painfully shy" at school.
  • In her book Kate: The Future Queen, royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl (opens in new tab) explains that Will was "known for keeping his head down, self-consciously trying to avoid the attention he attracted."
  • Nicholl details how Will threw himself into studying as a distraction from the pain of his loss.

Being born royal doesn't mean you're immune to some shyness—in fact, it might cause some shyness. Just ask Prince William, who was apparently "painfully shy" during his school days, particularly after the tragic and untimely death of his mother, Princess Diana (opens in new tab).

In her book Kate: The Future Queen (opens in new tab), royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl (opens in new tab) explains how the sudden loss impacted Will and his attitude toward his social life. Of the shyness Will experienced during his time at Eton College, she writes:

"Painfully shy and acutely aware of his unwanted celebrity, William was known for keeping his head down, self-consciously trying to avoid the attention he attracted. He was still coming to terms with the trauma of losing his mother two years earlier in a tragic car crash in Paris."

As Nicholl explains, the devastating impact of Diana's death (opens in new tab) was felt across the United Kingdom.

Naturally, however, the tragedy was hardest on her two young sons, William and Harry. Will, for one, threw himself into school work to take his mind off the tragedy.

"The loss to Prince William and Prince Harry was almost unbearable, and when William returned to school, he threw himself into his studies as a distraction," she writes.

Later, Will would bond with his future wife, Kate Middleton (opens in new tab), over his loss, Nicholl explains. But, as a teen, he struggled to cope with the loss.

Even decades later, this is a heartbreaking story.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.