Barnes, who arrived in the royal household when Prince William was born, became close to William and his younger brother Prince Harry, too close for their mother's comfort, says Penny Junor, a royal biographer. “There was a little world up there, and when William woke up in the morning he would totter along to Barbara Barnes’ bed and climb into bed for a cuddle.” Whatever the reason, Diana dismissed the nanny when William was four. “He became rather introverted when Barbara disappeared. I think he was very distressed –- it was almost a bereavement,” says Junor.
Nannies have played an important part in the life of the monarchy, and British royal children have often become very close to them – sometimes closer than they are to their parents. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have reportedly decided to break with centuries of tradition by choosing not to employ a full-time nanny for their child. Instead, they will rely on part-time help. Here’s a look back in time at the women employed to help raise the children of the British royals.