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How Princess Diana Redefined Royal Motherhood

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diana princess of wales with prince charles and prince william posing for a photocall on the lawn of government house in auckland


In The Crown season 4, Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) takes center stage for the first time in the lavish dramatization of the inner workings of the royal family. While the series focuses on the courtship of Prince Charles and then-Lady Diana Spencer and the ultimate breakdown of the Wales’s marriage, viewers do get a glimpse into what drove Princess Diana’s life: motherhood. And while the 10-episode season draws on historical truth for its portrayal of the royal family, it’s important to remember that, as creator Peter Morgan has pointed out, the series is not a documentary and many of the scenes are reimagined for dramatic effect. What is not lost, however, is how motherhood shaped Princess Diana, and indeed how the Princess of Wales had a lasting impact on raising royal children.

Diana was not just a trailblazer. She ripped up the royal rulebook. She’s famous for her groundbreaking humanitarian work, but her beloved boys always took top priority in her life. Her influence lives on in the parenthood of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex.

In episode 6, The Crown focuses on the Prince and Princess of Wales’s historic tour of Australia. In the past, royal children were left at home and tended to by nannies while Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip embarked on lengthy overseas tours. All that changed with Princess Diana learned she didn’t have to leave her newborn in London. And so, nine-month-old Prince William accompanied her and Charles Down Under for their six-week tour in March and April 1983. Prince William did spend some time away from his parents at a remote farm in New South Wales, but he delighted Australians with his first royal crawl-about in New Zealand. Diana’s trip with the infant prince paved the way for what has become a royal right of passage.

Princess Diana, Prince William, and Prince Charles in Auckland, New Zealand, on April 23, 1983.

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Nearly thirty years after Charles and Diana’s visit, Prince William and Kate returned to Australia and New Zealand with an infant Prince George. Instead of a solo photo op, George joined other young babies in a Wellington, New Zealand playgroup and stole the show at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Just two years later, Princess Charlotte was heard speaking for the first time, exclaiming, ‘pop’ as she played with balloons at a children’s party for military families at the Government House in Victoria, Canada. Canadians, meanwhile, got a glimpse of their two future kings, Prince William and Prince George. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan followed suit in 2019, taking four-month-old baby Archie to South Africa on their second major tour as a married couple.

canberra, australia   april 25  catherine, duchess of cambridge, prince william, duke of cambridge and prince george of cambridge leave fairbairne airbase as they head back to the uk after finishing their royal visit to australia on april 25, 2014 in canberra, australia the duke and duchess of cambridge are on a three week tour of australia and new zealand, the first official trip overseas with their son, prince george of cambridge  photo by mark nolangetty images

Mark Nolan

cape town, south africa   september 25 prince harry, duke of sussex, meghan, duchess of sussex and their baby son archie mountbatten windsor meet archbishop desmond tutu and his daughter thandeka tutu gxashe at the desmond  leah tutu legacy foundation during their royal tour of south africa on september 25, 2019 in cape town, south africa photo by poolsamir husseinwireimage

Pool/Samir Hussein

Of course, Queen Elizabeth experienced an entirely different path from Diana. After her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were thrust into the spotlight when her father “Bertie” became King George VI, and Lilibet, as she was called, became heir presumptive. At 25, then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip toured Kenya en route to Australia, and Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne there when her father succumbed to cancer. Queen Elizabeth maintained a more distant, formal relationship with her young children, taking on the immense responsibilities of the monarchy at such an early age. Her children Prince Charles, just shy of 4, and Princess Anne, nearly 2, spent much of their childhood in the company of nannies as their mother balanced her immense workload presiding over the Commonwealth.

Diana changed the dynamic, something unthinkable raising royal children nearly a generation ago. Rather than rely on nannies and bodyguards, the princess took the children to school herself, participated in school events, and guaranteed they experienced the same pursuits as less privileged children. She also showered them with love and affection. Whether sneaking her beloved boys into the movies or smuggling Starburst inside their socks at soccer games, the Princess of Wales put family first.

diana and sons

Diana gives Prince William a hug on the royal yacht Britannia on October 23, 1991 during official visit to Canada.

Princess Diana ArchiveGetty Images

In the documentary Diana, Our Mother, Her Life and Legacy, Prince Harry described her as the “best mum in the world” who “smothered us with love”: “She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible. And being as short as I was then, there was no escape, you were there and you were there for as long as she wanted to hold you… All I can hear is her laugh in my head and that sort of crazy laugh of where there was just pure happiness shown on her face.”

Diana was intent on her children living as normal an upbringing as possible, and William and Harry are dedicated to providing their children with the same. “She always understood that there was life outside of palace walls,” Prince William said in ITV’s commemorative documentary of Diana twenty years after her death. “My mother cherished those moments of privacy and being able to be that mother, rather than the Princess of Wales.”

William and Harry have, predictably, embraced modern fatherhood, nurturing their children and remaining fully engaged in their upbringing, as Diana did with them. Whether reading a story or taking part in bath time, William and Harry are equal partners in parenthood and share the responsibilities of raising their children. As Diana accompanied William and Harry to the first day of school, William and Kate have followed suit with George and Charlotte. And like Diana, they’ve insulated their children from the prying eyes of the paparazzi and make sure their privacy is paramount—without sacrificing the joys of childhood.

london, united kingdom    september 13  diana, the princess of wales  with  prince harry as he returns to his nursery school in londons notting hill, after the summer break, accompanied by prince william, who returns to his own school later this week  on september 13, 1988  in london, united kingdom photo by julian parkeruk press via getty images

Julian Parker

topshot   britains princess charlotte of cambridge, accompanied by her father, britains prince william, duke of cambridge, her mother, britains catherine, duchess of cambridge and brother, britains prince george of cambridge, arrives for her first day of school at thomass battersea in london on september 5, 2019 photo by aaron chown  pool  afp photo by aaron chownpoolafp via getty images

AARON CHOWN

Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back as senior members of the royal family in March 2020 was driven in large part by a quest to provide their son and family more privacy. The couple have prioritized Archie and make sure they’re present for all his milestones. “We were both there for his first steps, his first run, his first fall, hist first everything,” Meghan told Malala Yousafzai in October 2020, with Harry sharing, “Our little man is our number one priority, but our work after that is the second priority and we’re just trying to do everything we can to do our part to make the world a better place.” This message about duty and service was very much inherited from his mother and grandmother.

At the age of 21, Princess Elizabeth told her future subjects in a radio address, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be dedicated to your service.” From their very earliest years, Diana introduced William and Harry to what others endured, taking them to a homeless shelter, on private charity visits, and making them aware of her humanitarian work. “I want them to have an understanding of people’s emotions, people’s insecurities, people’s distress, and people’s hopes and dreams. I would like a monarchy that has more contact with its people,” Diana once said of her children.

Her legacy lives on today in the charitable work of her sons and their wives. While Archie is still too young, William and Kate are already introducing these values to their own children: Earlier in 2020, Prince George and Princess Charlotte delivered homemade pasta to the elderly in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic near their Anmer Hall Home on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

And William and Kate are committed to making sure their children know the woman who captivated the world. William told ITV in 2017 they are “constantly talking about Granny Diana. So we’ve got more photos up ’round the house now of her and we talk about her a bit and stuff. And it’s hard because obviously Catherine didn’t know her, so she cannot really provide that—that level of detail. So I do regularly, putting George or Charlotte to bed, talk about her, and just try and remind them that there are two grandmothers, there were two grandmothers in their lives, and so it’s important that they know who she was and that she existed.”

And what does William think about what Diana might be like today with his children? “She’d be a nightmare grandmother, absolute nightmare,” William joked in Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “She’d love the children to bits, but she’d be an absolute nightmare. She’d come and go and she’d come in probably at bath time, cause an amazing amount of scene, bubbles everywhere, bathwater all over the place—and then leave.”

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The 9 Best Sleep Apps For Your Most Restful Night Ever

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woman asleep in bed


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You need sleep. (Yeah, you already know that.) What isn’t always intuitive is how to get it. Between all of the stress the world has served up this past year and the temptation to doom scroll (a.k.a. nonstop surf the craziness your social feeds have to offer), we completely understand why you might be struggling to get your rest. One simple ritual that could help: using a sleep app.

Some of these digitally-available apps allow you to access meditation sessions or white noise recordings that you can play next to your pillow. Others monitor your sleep behaviors (like breathing and time spent tossing and turning) to help you make adjustments to your bedtime routine. “All of these apps have similar principles built into them,” says Rafael Pelayo, MD, professor at Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine and author of How to Sleep. At the end of the day, they’re designed to help you reach your sleep goals.

Pelayo’s pro tip for getting the most out of your app: Stick with it. After you’ve established your baseline (you do this the first time you use your app), use it enough times to identify trends in your sleep. (Note, if you find that your sleep declines, it might be worth checking in with a doctor.)

Pelayo notes that sleep apps can be “convenient, practical, and effective,” tools for getting a good night’s rest. Learn more about some of our favorites, below.

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1

Unplug Meditation

According to Pelayo, meditation apps help you fall asleep by making you feel safe and less alert to the happenings around you. Clicking into the Unplug app reveals a library of recorded meditations dedicated to upping your relaxation prior to sleep. Our recommendation: the 23 minute-long Meditation For Serious Sleep (that our tester swears she fell asleep to in under 10 minutes).

$12.99/month or $69.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

2

Calm

This app does exactly what it says it does. It’s loaded with countless hours of meditations and soothing tracks that help you wind down and practice mindfulness. If meditation isn’t your thing, give the app’s Sleep Stories a listen. The collection includes bedtime stories read in relaxing tones by a roster of familiar celebrity voices (like Harry Styles, Mandy Moore, Idris Elba, and more).

Pelayo says many of his patients have found success with this app—and the next one—because of how accessible and easy-to-use it is.

$12.99/month or $69.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

3

Headspace

Headspace had its cult-following way before it made its way to your Netflix watch list. The meditation app is easy-to-use, with a library divided by your meditation goals (e.g. concentration, balance, sleep). Our tester loved its sleep-specific meditations, as the recordings’ mix of soft narrations and ambient tracks never woke her after she’d fallen asleep—despite her being a light sleeper who is very sensitive to sound.

$12.99/month or $69.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

5

Unwind

If you look to the great outdoors for a reset (*raises hand*), hit download on Unwind. The app helps facilitate sleep by bringing the sounds of nature to your bedroom. (Think: falling rain and crashing waves.) Flip through the app’s numerous meditations, sleep stories, and breathing techniques.
$59.99/year; Mac App Store

6

Inscape

This app captures the relaxing effects of Inscape’s IRL meditation sessions into a gorgeous, easy-to-navigate app. Just position your phone next to your pillow and let the app’s tranquil tracks lull you to sleep.

$9.99/month; Mac App Store, Google Play

7

White Noise

“The need for sleep is biological, but the way you sleep is learned,” says Pelayo, who explains that once you’re accustomed to the sounds of your bedroom, introducing a new, novel sound (like a car passing or a cell phone buzzing) can disrupt your slumber. White noise raises the level of background noise so that you’re less likely to notice out-of-place sounds.

This is exactly what the White Noise app does. It plays looped ambient sounds (like the crackling of a campfire and falling rain) to keep you asleep. Like multiple tracks? The app allows you to cut and combine them for the ultimate sleep experience.

Free; Mac App Store, Google Play

8

Sleep Score

This hardworking app assesses how much quality sleep you’re getting à la its patented Sonar technology that utilizes your phone’s built-in microphone. It monitors your movements and breathing to grade you on how well you’re sleeping at every stage. It also gives you the tools to adjust your sleeping habits, providing you a library of soothing sounds and tips from sleep experts.

$7.99/month or $49.99/year; Mac App Store, Google Play

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Two New York Icons Join Forces: Barneys at Saks is Here

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Two New York Icons Join Forces: Barneys at Saks is Here


Another day, another fashion drop we can’t stop thinking about. From Louis Vuitton’s new collection in partnership with artist Urs Fischer to Burberry’s latest capsule that dips into the brand’s rich archives, we rounded up the hottest collaborations of the month. Click through to stay up-to-date with the newest fashion announcements and more.

Barneys at Saks

Who: Barneys at Saks

What: Barneys debuts at Saks’ Fifth Avenue flagship

Where: Saks NYC’s flagship store and saksfifthavenue.com

Why: In a wild, wholesome turn of events, New York Icon Saks Fifth Avenue is joining forces with another New York Icon, Barneys. The latter shuttered earlier this year, but Saks welcomed them with an installation on their fifth floor. The pop-up will feature a curated set of emerging and established brands alike (what Barney’s was known for), including sixteen labels new to Saks.

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Louis Vuitton Twist Bags Starring Laura Harrier

Who: Louis Vuitton

What: Laura Harrier and the Louis Vuitton Twist Bag

Where: In Louis Vuitton stores and on louisvuitton.com

Why: Louis Vuitton brings a fresh “twist” to their now-iconic Twist bag for spring 2021. The easy-to-carry bag now comes with sporty straps and leather lace detailing, and in new colorways from deep fucshia to rich tan, giving it a fresh update for the upcoming season. Louis Vuitton has chosen actress, activist, and house ambassador Laura Harrier as the face of this newest drop.

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Gucci and Doraemon

Who: Gucci

What: Gucci celebrates Lunar New Year with Doraemon

Where: Gucci.com and stores nationwide

Why: If you are still vying for a piece from Gucci’s sold-out collaboration with The North Face, the brand’s newest collection might tide you over until you own a hyped-up puffer. Launching today is the Italian fashion house’s partnership with manga sensation Doraemon, in observance of Lunar New Year. The animated pop icon is splashed over bags, sneakers, and notably, the GG motif.

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MATCHESFASHION Wardrobe Foundations

Who: MATCHESFASHION

What: MATCHESFASHION “Wardrobe Foundations”

Where: Exclusively on MATCHESFASHION.com

Why: MATCHESFASHION is starting 2021 with the launch of their new category “Wardrobe Foundations.” The online retailer is focusing on the 12 core pieces that make up the modern wardrobe for both men and women, launching with 250 items across 60 of their core brands. The category will be updated continually to reflect new deliveries with a wide range of price points to appeal to any of Matches’ shoppers.

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Dior Caro Bag

Who: Dior

What: The Dior Caro Bag

Where: Available now on Dior.com

Why: Dior’s latest handbag offering is the Caro, inspired by the brand’s iconic Cannage pattern. The bag uses over 18,000 individual stitches to create the pattern and includes the signature CD gold clasp. It comes in a variety of colors and two sizes, and includes a handy shoulder strap for hand-free use.

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Burberry Future Archive Capsule

Who: Burberry

What: Burberry Future Archive Capsule Collection

Where: Available exclusively at Burberry’s Chicago store and on Burberry.com January 11th

Why: Burberry is launching an incredibly limited collection of outerwear with a contemporary take on their archives. Field jackets, bomber jackets, and diamond-quilted coats are reimagined and fused with iconic Burberry trench coat elements. Each piece is being produced selectively and is labeled out of 150, making every item truly special.

Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer

Who: Louis Vuitton x Urs Fischer

What: Urs Fischer Capsule Collection

Where: Available at LV stores internationally and on louisvuitton.com

Why: Louis Vuitton continues their streak of artist collaborations with Swiss-born artist Urs Fischer. Fischer is known for his playful and irreverent artwork, and in this capsule he reimagines the LV Monogram in his own quirky handwriting. The velvet pattern jumps off the ready-to-wear, bags, and accessories, mixing heritage with the whimsy Fischer brings to all his endeavors.

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Guess Originals x NIKI ‘Moonchild’ Capsule

Who: Guess Originals x NIKI

What: ‘Moonchild’ Limited Edition Capsule

Where: Available on Guess.com

Why: Guess Originals has teamed up with Indonesian breakout artist NIKI for this nine-piece capsule, which complements her debut album ‘Moonchild.’ Pieces include sweatshirts, joggers, and biker shorts with lunar-themed decals. Pieces range from $29-89.

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Canada Goose Standard Expedition Parka

Who: Canada Goose

What: Standard Expedition Parka

Where: Available at Canada Goose stores internationally and on canadagoose.com

Why: Canada Goose is continuing their sustainability efforts with the Standard Expedition parka, made from entirely recycled materials without comprising the performance that they are known for. The “greige” color comes from limited dye use during production, and the creation of the jacket uses 35% less carbon and 60% less water than the brand’s classic parkas. A chic way to stay warm and keep the planet cold!

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Emma Corrin of ‘The Crown’ Stars in Miu Miu’s Spring Campaign

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Emma Corrin of 'The Crown' Stars in Miu Miu's Spring Campaign


With a new year comes fresh opportunities for innovative fashion, stunning visuals, and new levels of star power. The spring-summer 2021 campaigns have arrived, placing Kate Moss near a glowing Eiffel Tower for Messika Paris, and the likes of Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner in an underwater escape for Versace. Plus, Prada is exploring technology’s impact on fashion with its latest visionary output from Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons. In 2021, the sky is the limit.

Click through to see all the best campaigns, here.

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