WHERE WERE YOU WHEN: The world met Prince William?

Charles and Diana were all smiles but, says royal expert Jennie Bond, the fairytale was starting to crack.

Prince William, Princess Diana, Prince Charles
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It was, perhaps, one of the happiest days of Diana’s married life. After an overnight stay, she stepped out of the Lindo Wing of London’s St Mary’s Hospital, with her husband at her side, to present their tiny son to the world.

I was on duty at BBC News – not yet a royal correspondent – but this was a story that dominated the agenda. We had cameras, producers, reporters and engineers positioned outside the hospital, and the whole newsroom was on standby.

Di-mania was riding high. The princess drew huge crowds wherever she went – she was headline news, and that was before she cradled a future king in her arms.

Back then, we all believed the marriage really was a fairytale.

‘We were thrilled,’ Diana later recalled, remembering that day. ‘Everyone was high as a kite.’

William was barely 24 hours old and his parents had been married less than a year. But, though we didn’t know it at the time, cracks were opening up.

It was to be ten years before we discovered that Diana had been suffering from bulimia since before their wedding day. Her pregnancy had been wretched with chronic morning sickness and she was consumed by insecurity about Charles’s feelings for Camilla Parker Bowles.

Although Diana was delighted to be a mother – and when I got to know her in later years, she was always bursting with pride about her boys – she suffered dreadful postnatal depression.

When she looked back on it, she concluded that it wasn’t the baby who had produced the depression: the birth had simply triggered everything else that was going on in her mind. There were tears, tantrums and panic. The fairytale we all believed in that day at the hospital was, in fact, already unravelling.

Also that month…

  • British and Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands agreed a ceasefire.
  • Jodie Whittaker who would become the first female to play the lead in Doctor Who, was born in Skelmanthorpe, West Yorkshire.
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  • Italian banker Roberto Calvi, 62, was found hanged beneath London’s Blackfriars Bridge, his pockets stuffed with rocks and thousands of pounds in cash. Known as ‘God’s banker’ for his links with Vatican funds, he was also implicated in organised crime. At the time, City of London police treated his death as suicide, but in Italy in 2003, five people were charged with his murder. All were cleared after a 20-month trial.
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  • Steven Spielberg’s ET had its premiere in Los Angeles.