Princess Diana returned most of Prince William and Harry’s childhood Christmas presents for this frugal reason

Princess Diana's former bodyguard has revealed why the Princess was keen to keep the amount of childhood Christmas gifts to a minimum

Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry
(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images and Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)

Princess Diana would return most of the Christmas gifts her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, received over the holidays, her former bodyguard has revealed, and the reason why is so like her.

With Christmas just around the corner, as children long for the morning where they hope to find the top Christmas toys for 2023 under the tree, the excitement is growing.

It's no different for the Royal Family. On Christmas morning, they all still wake up and likely bound over to see what Santa has brought them this year. But for young Princes William and Harry in their childhood, they might not have been all too impressed with the lack of gifts they found there...

Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

That's because the late Princess Diana's former bodyguard has now revealed that she often returned many of the gifts sent to her sons and also made sure not to buy them too many toys because they simply 'didn't need them.'

Speaking to OK! Magazine, her former bodyguard Ken Wharfe shared, "Diana was very careful to ensure that they weren’t flooded with gifts – gifts did appear from unknown sources, and they were often returned or given to charity because they didn’t need them.

"She was very conscious about what she bought as she knew the hallway at Sandringham would be full of presents."

But while they may not have found a tonne of presents under the Christmas tree, what they did unwrap was sure to bring them joy. Speaking about Diana's love for prank gifts, former royal butler Paul Burrell, told OK!, "She'd spend hours looking for jokey things for their stockings. One year, Harry got fake dog poo."

Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Diana's frugal approach to Christmas gifts is just one of the ways she instilled a realistic outlook on life in her two young children. Her biographer, Andrew Morton, wrote extensively in his book about the keenness Diana had for showing William and Harry the real world, which was vastly different from the royal bubble they lived in thanks to their prominent positions in the royal line of succession

He wrote, "She took the young royals with her on her private charity visits from a young age - one of the reasons was she didn't want the boys to grow up thinking the whole world was 4x4 Range Rovers, shotguns and nannies."

We're sure that both William and Harry are continuing this approach to Christmas presents with their own kids, at least to some degree, as they either work out fun ways to give kids their Christmas presents or, if they're not all that prepared like the rest of us, rush around to gather up some last-minute Christmas presents for the big day. 

If you are struggling to know what to buy those little ones in your life, some handy insight has been offered up by Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis as they shared their 7 top Christmas toys - and  number 3 is sure to excite! 

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.