Local News

The one toy from Princess Diana’s childhood she wouldn’t let the young princes play with

No, she wasn't being greedy. It was for socially conscious reasons.

By Jacqui King
It was Princess Diana’s charm and warmth that made her the ‘People’s Princess’ while she was alive, and everyone she met felt her generosity and positivity.
It's been nearly 20 years since her untimely death but her memory lives on, with people constantly recounting the moments (whether they were fleeting or long-term) they spent with her.
Forever in our hearts
As with everyone she met, the princess left a lasting impression on Murray Walker, a Melbourne artist and anthropologist, when she was visiting Melbourne in 1985 for the state’s 150th anniversary celebrations.
Murray was curator of the Great Exhibition of Victoria at the time and had the pleasure of guiding Princess Diana and Prince Charles through a gorgeous collection of memorabilia.
The party soon stopped at the children’s section and were gazing at a group of golliwog toys.
Murray remembers the princess saying that despite the fact she grew up with these toys, she wouldn’t allow the princes, Prince William, 3, and Prince Harry, 1, to play with them.
“She got one of the gollies in her arms and she said, ‘I’m not allowed to have gollies in the family nursery’,” Murray recalled, telling to the Herald Sun.
“She said they had a committee or an adviser or something, and said, ‘it’s seen to be racist to have gollies’.”
This was a time before golliwog toys became controversial.
Princess Diana didn't want the boys playing with golliwogs. Source: Instagram
Murray also remembers Diana speaking candidly about the difficulties of being a parent who can’t be with her children 24/7. “She was comparing the freedom and happiness she had as a child to the very rigorous policing, if you like, of her own nursery,” he says.
“I was touched with her dilemma, of having children and how (it was) unlike the loved environment she grew up in.
“It’s one of those memories I’ve never been able to let go of.”