The Queen Saved Prince William from a "Breakdown" After His Parents' Split

After Prince Williams' parents split, his grandmother, the Queen, saved him from a "breakdown," according to historian Robert Lacey.

  • When his parents were going through their lengthy and fraught separation, those closest to Prince William worried that the stress of the situation could lead him to a "breakdown."
  • According to royal historian Robert Lacey, the Queen played an instrumental role in helping Will get through the difficult period.
  • The Queen started a tradition of having regular Sunday lunches with Will during this time and "helped to turn the fragile schoolboy heading for a breakdown into quite a tough young man."

Even the most casual royal fan knows that Princess Diana and Prince Charles' marriage was infamously troubled. The couple separated in 1992, but didn't divorce officially until four years later, in 1996. Prince William was 10 when his parents first split and their separation was hard on him—especially in the years leading up to their actual divorce.

In his new book, Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, royal biographer and historian Robert Lacey reveals the role Will's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, played in helping him through the difficult time.

"It was then three years after his parents’ separation – just two years before Diana’s death – and the Queen was worried about William’s state of mind," Lacey writes in the book, according to Us Weekly. "The Queen actually feared that the boy might be heading for some sort of breakdown, she confided to one of her advisors – just as the prince’s mother herself had clearly cracked up mentally in several respects."

According to Lacey, Will's grandfather, Prince Philip, agreed that he needed extra support and even encouraged the Queen to try "to get closer to this particular boy – who was not just her fragile grandson, but a future inheritor of her crown."

The Queen's solution was simple, but perfect: She started a special routine of having lunch with William every Sunday, something Lacey says "helped to turn the fragile schoolboy heading for a breakdown into quite a tough young man" and helped give the young royal a "moral compass and a purpose."

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.