Royal expert criticises The Crown over 'sad' Prince William

Royal expert criticises The Crown for portraying a young Prince William as ‘sad and unfulfilled’ in new series, after Princess Diana did everything to give her sons a ‘happy and normal’ upbringing

  • Prince William is depicted as a sad, melancholy teenager in the Netflix series
  • In a preview of series five seen by FEMAIL, William comforts his mother Diana 
  • Richard Fitzwilliams wants viewers to remember William’s loving upbringing

A young Prince William will appear melancholy and troubled in the new series of The Crown, which shows him reaching adolescence while dealing with the public separation of his parents.

In a preview of series five of the Netflix drama, seen by FEMAIL, the future king played by Dominic West’s son Senan, 15, cuts a miserable figure as he navigates growing up in the public eye. 

He is also tuned into his mother’s pain, and is pictured comforting Princess Diana during difficult moments with Prince Charles. 

However, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told FEMAIL the new episodes should ensure they reflect the ways in which Princess Diana ensured her boys had the happiest, most normal upbringing possible. 

Meanwhile, they also had the support of his loving grandmother the Queen, while Prince Charles taught them sports such as polo. 

 ‘Those watching what The Crown shows should also bear in mind that there were, even in the nineties, happy times for William too,’ Richard said. ‘Whereas many of the events it portrays were indeed grim, it should surely also show how William was loved as a child.’ 

Prince William is depicted as a pensive and melancholy teenager in The Crown series five (pictured: Senan West playing William) as his parents separate – but according to royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, the series should also depict the happy points in his childhood

Princess Diana was known for being a fun mother who enjoyed taking her sons out for the day and playing with them. Pictured: Diana with William and Harry on the log flume at Thorpe Park in 1993

In the young prince’s first scene, in which Prince Harry is also present, Charles embarrasses Diana by mocking her desire to go shopping – but both young princes say they are desperate to head to the shops with their mother.

She then tells them: ‘Thanks for sticking up for me! That was brave’ before presenting them with a GameBoy.

Although The Crown fictionalises some aspects of the Royal Family and their lives, fans will no doubt be disappointed to see the depiction of William as an unfulfilled teenager given the close relationship he had with his mother in real life. 

He said: ‘William, it has been reported, is portrayed as sad, unfulfilled and melancholy in the fifth series.

During her last holiday with Princes Harry and William in July 1997 in St Tropez, Princess Diana was pictured larking about on a jet ski with her youngest son

The royal author added: ‘It was from Diana that he learnt to care for the less fortunate, especially the homeless and those in hospital and that has benefited them both in later life. 

‘William later said what an eye-opener seeing a different side to life was and, when he turned 40, reportedly became a Big Issue seller in memory of what his mother taught him. 

‘She was more casual than Charles, a trip to the cinema, skiing or, most famously, to an amusement park, was more her style. She wanted her sons to have as normal as upbringing as they possibly could under very trying circumstances.’

Diana was known for her affectionate approach towards motherhood as her sons were growing up and was often pictured in public embracing Prince Harry and Prince William.

One of the earliest examples of her dedication to motherhood above all other duties was when she broke royal protocol to bring her eldest son, who was nine months old at the time, on a tour around Australia. In setting a new precedent for royal engagements, she made it clear her children were her top priority.

‘Taking William, aged nine months, on a trip to Australia was controversial at the time but much later William and Kate took George at that age too so this was a game changer,’ Richard said.

As the children were growing up, Diana showed the world she was a ‘fun mother’ who got involved in silly activities with her sons and their friends.

In one of her most famous outings with the boys, Princess Diana was pictured allowing herself to get absolutely soaked on the log flume at Thorpe Park in 1993.

The late Princess of Wales is pictured beaming from inside the cart while Princes Harry and Prince William howl with laughter. In 2017, a Radio 5 Live show celebrating Princess Diana’s life examined the photo in more detail and revealed what it was the young princes had found so funny.

Princess Diana was known for getting involved in the parents’ race at the boys’ school sports days (pictured winning the mothers’ race in 1989)

The photographer who took the picture said that the Royals’ security team, a group of burly royal protection officers, came down the water ride after Diana and the boys and, due to their weight, caused a huge splash at the bottom.

The boys were grinning at the soaked policemen following them in another boat.

Other photos from the day show Princess Diana guiding her sons and other guests on the river rapids ride – in which they are all wearing ponchos and waterproof cover-ups to try and shield themselves from the water seeping in.

As the boys were growing up, their mother remained a fun presence in their lives and was also pictured taking part in the parents’ race at their school sports day on more than one occasion.

While on family holidays, the Princess of Wales showed that entertaining her children was her top priority, often shunning sunbathing for fun activities with the boys – which sometimes included being buried in the sand, as she demonstrated on a trip to the Virgin Islands.

Even on her last holiday with the boys in St Tropez in July 1997, shortly before she died in a car crash in Paris, Princess Diana was pictured larking around with Princes William and Harry on jet skis.

Aside from their doting mother, Richard also noted how other royal figures doted on them when they were children, including their father and their grandmother.

He said: ‘Charles taught William polo and traditional country sports. 

‘The Queen played a particularly important role in his life, helping to prepare him for the future, notably when he was a pupil at Eton when he visited her at weekends.

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