Princess Diana’s private nanny photos show late royal during the ‘happiest time of her life’

Princess Diana‘s private nanny photos offer a rare glimpse into the late royal’s life before she married Prince Charles

Princess Diana's private nanny photos offer a rare glimpse into the late royal's life before marrying Prince Charles John Hoffman/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images
(Image credit: John Hoffman/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Touching photos from Princess Diana’s days as a nanny, in which the late royal can be seen caring for the son of a private client, have recently resurfaced. 


Princess Diana may have been a descendant of British nobility, but that didn’t stop her from holding down a regular job. 

The late royal, whose fondness for children went on to become a trademark of her public persona, worked as a teaching assistant in a high-end London nursery school before she married Prince Charles in 1981. 

She landed the childcare role after returning from a Swiss finishing school in 1978 and worked there part-time while sharing an apartment with three roommates. The residence in Earl’s Court, London, famously became known as the flat Princess Diana was ‘happiest’ in, with many insiders claiming her teaching job was fundamental to the late royal’s happiness. 

David Cooper / Alamy Stock Photo

Princess Diana's former flat in London 

(Image credit: David Cooper / Alamy Stock Photo)

But contrary to popular opinion, her nursery post wasn’t the only responsibility Diana had. The teenager also worked as a private nanny for an American family, taking care of a little boy two days a week after she had wrapped up her shift at the preschool. 

Every Tuesday and Thursday, she would mind Patrick Robertson, the son of an oil executive from the US. Photos of Diana pushing the toddler in his stroller have recently resurfaced, giving fans a rare glimpse into the late royal’s life before she became a global superstar. 

Lady Diana Spencer takes her young charge Patrick Robertson for his daily outing in the Eaton Square district of London during her time as a nanny, November 1980. She wears a green Loden wool coat. Only weeks later, her engagement to the Prince of Wales was announced. (Photo by John Hoffman/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Princess Diana as a private nanny to Patrick Robertson 

(Image credit: John Hoffman/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) takes her young charge Patrick Robertson for his daily outing in the Eaton Square, during her time as a nanny, London, UK, November 1980. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images)

Princess Diana ‘adored’ little Patrick 

(Image credit: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images)

Diana was reportedly paid £5 an hour by the parents, who initially had no idea they had hired an aristocratic young woman. 

“We never knew until much later on that she had a title or personal wealth,” the boy’s mother, Mary Robertson, revealed years later. “She just came along as a normal part-time nanny.” 

It was only when Mary discovered a deposit slip addressed to Diana that she realized the truth behind her nanny’s identity. 

“It said ‘Lady Diana Spencer’, and it was deposited to Coutts & Co, and because I worked in finance, I knew that Coutts was the bank of the aristocracy and the Royal family,” she said. 

Despite her lofty title, Diana had no airs or graces about her. She happily performed her duties as a nanny, which including washing dishes and loading laundry, as well as feeding and playing with Patrick. When Mary mentioned Diana’s background to her, she didn’t even seem to think it was important. 

Of course, Diana’s time with the Robertsons was cut short once she became engaged to Prince Charles. The family said their goodbyes to the soon-to-be royal bride, and sadly never met her again face-to-face. Diana did, however, keep in touch with her former employer through letters, in which she remained as “friendly and unpretentious” as ever. 

Emma Dooney
Emma Dooney

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.