Princess Diana had many wonderful traits—and one of them was her rollicking sense of humor, on full display in a brilliant (or, in her son Prince William’s words, “embarrassing”) prank she once played on her elder son when he was a teenager.
Like most teenage boys in the early- to mid-1990s, William had a crush on some of the world’s biggest supermodels: Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington. The only difference? Unlike most teenage boys in the early- to mid-1990s, only William (well, and Prince Harry, too) could claim the most famous woman in the world as their mother. And the most famous woman in the world had connections that could put three of the most famous supermodels at the time inside their home.
In an interview to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Diana’s death, William said in 2017 that his mother pranked him pretty fantastically when he came home from school one day, The Mirror reports.
“Just outside this room where we are now, she organized, when I came home from school, to have Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Naomi Campbell waiting at the top of the stairs,” he said. “I was probably a 12- or 13-year-old boy who had posters of them on his wall. And I went bright red and didn’t know quite what to say and sort of fumbled and I think I pretty much fell down the stairs on the way up.”
The future king was “awestruck,” he said.
“That was a very funny memory that’s lived with me forever about her, loving and embarrassing and being the sort of joker,” William said.
That certainly wasn’t the only time that his mother made him laugh. In the documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, William said “she was a massive card writer, and she loved the rudest cards you could imagine,” he said. “I would be at school, and I’d get a card from my mother. Usually she found something, you know, very embarrassing, very funny card, and then sort of written very nice stuff inside. But I didn’t open it in case teachers or anyone else in the class had seen it. She was very informal and really enjoyed the laughter and the fun.”
William wasn’t the only recipient of Diana’s practical jokes—her younger son, Prince Harry, got pranked, too.
Diana’s former butler Paul Burrell recalled that Diana would spend a long time trying to find the best gifts for her sons, and once found the perfect stocking stuffer for Harry.
“She’d spend hours looking for jokey things for their stockings,” Burrell said. “One year, Harry got fake dog poo.”
Burrell said that not only did Harry love the gift but, in true “Diana’s son” form, he had a mischievous plan for how he would use it: to turn around and trick his dog-obsessed grandmother the Queen with it.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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