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Royal pregnancy evokes memories of Princess Diana

Prince Philip (R) accompanies Prince Charles and Princess Diana on their wedding day as they wave from the balcony Of Buckingham Palace on July 29, 1981. Getty Images

TORONTO – As Prince William and his wife Kate await the future heir to the English throne, Kate’s pregnancy and media attention have been compared to William’s mother, Princess Diana.

The Duchess of Cambridge has drawn comparisons to William’s mother in the past, in terms of their fashion style and similar wedding ceremonies.

In 2011, the royal wedding between William and Kate culminated in William slipping the sapphire ring his mother Diana wore on to the finger of his bride.

The public’s attention to Kate’s pregnancy is drawing similarities to Diana’s first pregnancy, according to royal commentator and historian Rafe Heydel-Mankoo.

“Prince William was the first member of the Royal Family to be born in a hospital,” Heydel-Mankoo told Global News during a phone call from London, England. “William started the tradition which his child is continuing of being born very much in the public eye in a private/public hospital.”

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Princess Diana, who gave birth to William in 1981, was followed intensely by the media until her death in Paris in 1997.

And with the media camped outside the Lindo wing of St. Mary’s hospital in Paddington, the Duke of Cambridge will have a difficult time keeping his child out of the spotlight.

“What you’ll see through the early phase of this birth of the baby is an effort to retain the privacy which William feels perhaps he didn’t get as much of  when he was a child,” said Heydel-Mankoo. “What we’ll see happen is a concerted effort made to ensure there is some sort of agreement  made with the media over the next little while to ensure that the privacy of the royal couple is respected.”

William and Kate have struggled to keep their privacy in the past.

In 2012, the royal couple sued a French tabloid over photos of a topless Kate  taken during a vacation.

Royal watchers say the aggressive legal strategy that followed showed their willingness to deter future intrusions from the press.

Diana had a long and often difficult relationship with the media that contributed to her death after her car crashed while being pursued by paparazzi.

“William’s youth growing  up… was one in which he was living in a toxic environment with the press’ relationship with his mother,” said Heydel-Mankoo. “ He was her confidant during a lot of that period, which is a heavy burden to place on a child. And so he doesn’t want his wife to go through what his mother went through. And he certainly doesn’t want his child to grow in a relationship (with the press) that was that toxic.”

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Below are images during Princess Diana’s first pregnancy with her son William.

Princess Diana pregnant with Prince William at Windsor Polo with Sarah Ferguson. June 1982 (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage).
Diana wears David Sassoon red maternity dress at Barbican Centre in March 1982. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage).
Diana, Princess of Wales talks to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales as he rides his polo horse at Guards Polo Club in Windsor (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images).
A pregnant Princess Diana arrives for the premiere of 'Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom', London, 11th June 1984. She is wearing a Catherine Walker gown. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images).
Diana, Princess of Wales, seven months pregnant in April 1984 in Scilly Isles, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images).
Diana, Princess of Wales is 7 months pregnant as she watches the Grand National at Aintree race course on March 31, 1984 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images).