When it came to her sons, she was all in and made sure that her kids were smothered with love every chance she gets. Not one to miss out on any fun, she ran a race at her son's school with other mommies and gave it her all.
“I don’t go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head,” Princess Diana said in an interview in 1995.
Staying true to every single word she said, Lady Diana ditched the rule book several times when she was the princess, especially when it came to her children. She was the mother who made her sons Prince William and Prince Harry feel like the center of her world. And she had no qualms about being the mother who was overly-involved in their lives. She was always present and always available, so much that she didn't care about her royal title when she would visit school functions at Prince William and Prince Harry's schools.
One time, in 1991, Princess Diana attended the Sports Day at Wetherby School at which Prince Harry was a student. There, she kicked off her shoes and went all in, running for the mother's race in her skirt and blazer, according to Pop Sugar.
And before that, in 1989, she ran a race at Prince William's school too!
It shows how invested she was in her sons' lives. But that wasn't the only time she did something that was unusual for a royal mother. She broke a number of rules and traditions when it came to raising her children her way.
Adamant about giving her sons a normal education, Princess Diana got her way and had Prince William enrolled in a school to study outside the palace walls. "He became the first heir to the British throne to begin his schooling outside of a palace," wrote George Hackett in 1985, according to Newsweek. Not only did Prince William make history, but he was also an excited young boy who "brought his new Postman Pat thermos and a finger mouse home to show mom, dad and year-old brother, Prince Harry."
In a palace where nannies and butlers could be made available for every need, Princess Diana made sure she was involved in her children's lives as much as possible. And she would never mind dropping her kids off to school herself. Angela Levin, author of Harry: A Biography of a Prince, told CBS News, "Diana broke all the rules of traditional royal child-rearing… even dropping her boys off at school herself. That was unheard of in Prince Charles' day."
Princess Diana refused to stay away from her children for too long. At a time when two heirs to the royal throne weren't allowed to fly on the same plane, Princess Diana got her way when she wanted to take nine-month-old Prince William along with her and Prince Charles on their six-week royal tour to New Zealand.
“It was an early sign that Diana was going to raise her children her way and was willing to stand up to the Palace in order to do so,” a friend of the princess said, according to Best Life. “The fact that she got her way on this issue was something considered quite shocking at the time.” Princess Diana refused to be a parent who wasn't available for her children and she would try her best not to stay apart from them for long.
The way she mothered her sons and smothered them with love was very different from the princesses before her. She would take them out for hamburgers, take them bicycling and white-water rafting, take them to Disney World and make sure they waited in line for their turn, and she allowed them to wear jeans and baseball caps. Because of her, Prince William and Prince Harry saw what life was like outside the walls of the palace. Levin said, "With her outings to amusement parks, days at the beach and trips to homeless shelters to show her boys the other side of life."