Princess Diana Changed Royal Tours Forever When She Refused to Leave William Behind

Princess Diana changed royal tours forever when she refused to leave her firstborn son, Prince William, behind while she and Prince Charles traveled.

Prince William In New Zealand 1983
(Image credit: Anwar Hussein)

  • These days, we take for granted that royal babies will accompany their parents on international tours.
  • That wasn't always the case however. Like so many of the modern changes to the royal family's traditions, this new norm was established by Princess Diana.
  • The late royal refused to leave Prince William behind during royal tours, not wanting to repeat the pattern her husband, Prince Charles, had experienced as a child when he was separated from his parents for weeks or even months at a time during royal travel engagements.

No one has done more to bring the royal family into the modern age than Princess Diana. The late royal famously challenged the family's long-held traditions and was personally responsible for establishing some new norms that hold strong today.

For example: Before Diana, it was tradition to leave royal children behind during royal tours.

Diana was having none of that though, and made it clear when she and Prince Charles were readying for a tour of Australia and New Zealand in March of 1983, when baby Will was just nine months old, that where she went, her son also went.

According to E! Online, Will spent most of the trip at a "sheep station" (basically a large ranch-like property) with his nanny, but Diana and Charles were able to visit and spent time with him as much as possible between engagements. Even if he wasn't able to stay by Diana's side the entire trip, she was still able to spend more time with him than if he had stayed behind in England, 10,000 miles away.

Charles was also a fan of the decision to bring Will along for the trip.

"We were extremely happy there," Charles wrote to some friends, according to royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith. "The great joy was that we were entirely alone together."

Now, of course, bringing royal babies along for tours is standard practice. Prince George accompanied Will and Kate Middleton on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2014, when he was just eight months old. And, of course Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's five-month-old son, Archie Harrison, is currently in Africa with them on tour.

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The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince Harry Visit The White Garden In Kensington Palace

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)
Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. 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.