In the 80s, the royal toddlers William and Harry were not allowed to have a cozy blanket in their hands or wear sneakers, according to a new book. According to historian Robert Lacey’s updated version of Battle of Brothers, the first nanny to be appointed by Prince Charles and Lady Diana had many strict rules that ensured the two boys obeyed.
Nanny Barbara Barnes had been recommended by Princess Margaret’s lady-in-waiting and was wearing neither a nanny hat nor a uniform.
Today, Prince William employs Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, a trained nanny from the prestigious 125-year-old Norland College in Bath.
She can sometimes be seen in the traditional brown uniform and hat at royal engagements.
As a student, the Spanish nanny was trained in parenting, as well as cooking, sewing techniques, and even self-defense and first aid training.
“Barnes was just as harsh with the kids, not allowing them to snuggle up and refusing them shoes until they could walk properly,” writes Lacey.
The author says Mrs. Barnes was strict with both the staff at Kensington Palace and the young princes.
“When they got their first shoes, Nanny insisted on classic starting rites with button straps that were adapted to the boy’s feet,” he adds.
“Trainers were banned.”
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Royal writer Ingrid Seward was reportedly told by a Kensington Palace employee that Barbara Barnes ran the nursery “like the Vatican.”
Despite their strict rules, the nanny was very fond of the two boys and taught them how to walk, talk, read, and choose their clothes and shoes.
Insofar as she became “something of a surrogate mother,” especially for William, says Lacey.
When the princes woke up at dawn, Mrs. Barnes took them “to her bed most mornings to frolic and play together before giving them their breakfast and handing them to their parents when they woke up”.
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In Robert’s biography, Highgrove housekeeper Wendy Berry was quoted as saying that “one weekend she [Barbara Barnes] Was not there anymore.”
The historian further suggests that Princess Diana began “cold shouldering” the nanny, which would explain her disappearance.
She was later replaced by Alexandra ‘Tiggy’ Pettifer from 1993 to 1999.
Mrs. Pettifer was at Balmoral Castle with Prince Harry when he found out that his mother was killed in a car accident in 1997.
The princes are reportedly still in contact with Tiggy as Harry is the godfather of their son Fred.
He also introduced her to Meghan during a trip to Cardiff in 2018.
“She’s a very significant person in Harry’s life, almost like a mother figure, as she took care of Harry when Princess Diana died,” a close source told The Sun.