PRINCE William and Prince Harry’s nanny “banned them from having comfort blankets” and “wearing trainers”, claims a royal author.
Shortly after Princess Diana had given birth to her two sons, Prince Charles felt that his wife “needed a nanny” and employed Barbara Barnes to help.
Barbara, aged 42 at the time, was the daughter of a Norfolk forestry worker, and had been recommended by Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting, Anne Glenconner.
Unlike Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Norland-trained nanny, Maria Borrello, Barbara did not wear a nanny hat or uniform.
According to Robert Lacey’s biography, Battle of Brothers, Nanny Barnes was strict to Kensington Palace staff and the young princes.
He wrote: “Barnes was equally firm with the children, not allowing them comfort blankets and refusing them shoes until they had learned to walk properly.
“When they did get their first footwear, Nanny insisted on classic Start-Rites with button straps that were shaped to the boys’ feet. Trainers were banned.”
Robert reveals that royal author Ingrid Seward was told by a member of the Kensington Palace staff that Barbara guarded the nursery floor “like the Vatican.”
Prince William and Prince Harry would wake up at dawn, Robert claimed, so Nanny Barnes would “bring them into her bed most mornings to romp and play together, before giving them their breakfast and passing them on to their parents when they woke.”
She taught William and Harry how to walk, talk, read, and chose their clothes and shoes.
The nanny became “something of a surrogate mother” to William in particular, and would take them on holidays to Scotland and the Scilly Isles, where she would set an action-packed agenda.
Robert claims that Diana started to “cold-shoulder” Barbara – and the nanny ended up mysteriously disappearing from the boys’ lives.
In Robert’s biography, Highgrove housekeeper Wendy Berry was quoted saying that “one weekend she [Nanny Barnes] wasn’t there any more.”
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William and Harry later had Alexandra ‘Tiggy’ Pettifer as a nanny, and she looked after them from 1993 to 1999, following Diana’s death in 1997.
She had a controversial stint as a nanny, and often made headlines where tension between her and Princess Diana was apparent, with Tiggy once referring to Harry and William as ‘my babies’.
The princes’ adoration of Tiggy has often saved her reputation, and they remain close to this day, with Harry introducing Tiggy to Meghan during a trip to Cardiff.
His ex-nanny lives 30 miles away on the sprawling Glanusk Estate, which is owned by her wealthy family.
Harry is godfather to her son Fred.
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More than a year on from joining forces with Netflix, the couple have only announced two major productions – Harry’s Heart of Invictus about the Invictus Games and Meghan’s animated children’s show Pearl.
They’ve also still only released one 34-minute podcast in their nine months with the platform – despite promising much more.