Princess Diana's bittersweet nickname for Prince William inspired by tough time in her marriage

Princess Diana With Prince William Sitting On Her Lap At Polo
(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Princess Diana’s nickname for Prince William was inspired by a tour that reportedly marked a challenging period in her marriage to Prince Charles.

Many members of The Firm are known for having rather surprising names for each other, from the Cambridge children’s adorable name for Duchess Camilla to Prince Charles’ “secret” nickname for Meghan Markle. Though of all Royal Family’s nicknames that are known amongst fans, there’s one which might not be as famous. Prince William’s childhood nickname was given to him by his late mother, Princess Diana. And it seems it was inspired by a particularly memorable trip, though it wasn’t without its challenges.

According to OK!, Princess Diana's nickname for William in childhood was something he admitted himself during an enlightening interview in 2007. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana arrive in Alice Springs, Australia, with their son Prince William

Getting candid, the Duke of Cambridge, who’s second in line to the throne, reportedly told NBC that Diana had given him the unusual moniker “Wombat”.

“I can’t get rid of it now,” he explained at the time. “It began when I was two. I’ve been rightfully told because I can’t remember back that far, but when we went to Australia with our parents, and the wombat, you know, that’s the local animal, so I just basically got called that, not because I look like a wombat, or maybe I do."

Whilst known exactly which Australian visit inspired the nickname, the Prince and Princess of Wales were joined by William on their 1983 tour of Australia and New Zealand. This was their first official tour as a couple and reports have since claimed it wasn’t quite as idyllic as they might have hoped.

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997) in a car at the Memorial Oval in Port Pirie, Australia

As previously reported by Esquire, in her biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life, author Sally Bedell Smith alleged that the crowds “clearly favoured” Diana over Charles. 

“The prince was embarrassed the crowds so clearly favoured her over him,” she wrote. “For her part, Diana was upset by the disproportionate interest in her, especially when she realised that it was disturbing Charles.”

Meanwhile, in the late Princess of Wales’ infamous BBC Panorama interview in 1995, Diana stated that Charles “minded” the amount of media attention she received after all their days there, with people trying to get close to her.

Diana, Princess of Wales and Prince Charles at their official welcome ceremony in Alice Springs

“[T]he pressure on us both as a couple with the media was phenomenal, and misunderstood by a great many people,” she said. “We’d be going round Australia, for instance, and all you could hear was, oh, she’s on the other side. Now if you’re a man, like my husband, a proud man, you mind about that if you hear it every day for four weeks. And you feel low about it, instead of feeling happy and sharing it.”

Whilst Prince Charles and Princess Diana's tour was incredibly significant, it reportedly wasn't without it's difficulties. Though the way it was such a huge milestone perhaps lead the Princess of Wales to draw on the local wildlife as a bittersweet yet adorable nickname for her young son.

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home,, and My Imperfect Life.