British Royal Family

The sweet nod to Princess Diana in Prince Charles' official 70th birthday tribute

It was a touching tribute from the Prince of Wales to his beloved boys' mother.

By Ruth Devine

In a candid photo montage to celebrate Prince Charles' 70th birthday this week, Clarence House has included a photo of Princess Diana.

The shot featuring the late Princess of Wales with eight-month-old Prince Harry in her arms and her then-husband, Prince Charles carrying a two-year-old Prince William was taken on the Royal Yacht Britannia when she was just 23.

WATCH: Prince Charles' official 70th birthday photo montage featuring Diana in the player above. Story continues below...

It was one of a series of photos taken at a press call in 1985 at the end of the Royal Family's three-week tour of Italy that culminated in Venice and was only four years after the couple made their wedding vows amid the splendour and pageantry of St Paul's Cathedral.

Princess Diana cradling eight-month-old Prince Harry on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1985. *(Image: Getty)*
Princess Diana cradling eight-month-old Prince Harry on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1985. (Image: Getty)
It's so touching to see Diana remembered in Charles' milestone moment. *(Image: Getty)*
It's so touching to see Diana remembered in Charles' milestone moment. (Image: Getty)

The fact that it's 21 years after the much-loved Princess of Wales died in a horrific car crash in Paris and 26 years since the royal couple's separation was announced to the British public by then Prime Minister John Major means it's all the more touching – and indeed, fitting – that a photo of the self-proclaimed "People's Princess" should be part of Charles' birthday celebrations.

READ MORE: Duchess Meghan and Duchess Catherine lead the glamour at Charles' birthday bash.

Seen with her trademark shy smile for the cameras and looking so very young and beautiful, Princess Diana's inclusion is a mark of respect for the woman who gave Prince Charles his two beloved sons and the British throne an heir in the shape of Prince William.

Commentators were divided on the montage. Some noted how happy the Prince looks with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall who he married in 2005.

"How nice that he can marry Camilla and be truly happy because everyone in this life deserves to be happy," one said.

"While Diana was a good human she was not necessarily the best wife. Camilla is an amazing person in her own right and has stepped into the role fabulously, and makes Charles happy," another added.

Others, however, were not so impressed that there was only one photo of Princess Diana included.

"What a lack of maturity to put only [one] photo of Princess Diana," one commenter declared.

"You should have put more than one slide with Diana on it," another added.

But the majority were quick to come to the defence of the Prince saying, pointing out the entire point of the post which was released on to the social media channels of Clarence House, the Prince's London residence, was to celebrate Prince Charles' life.

"It's not about her. It's about Charles turning 70! Give it a rest," one wrote, while another highlighted there was also only one photo of the prince with his grandfather.

The gorgeous photos were released after a jam-packed week of back-to-back birthday gatherings, including an A-list concert held in his honour called We Are Most Amused and Amazed and a glittering private party with the Prince's nearest and dearest royal loved ones at Buckingham Palace.

On Wednesday November 14th, Charles' actual birthday, Duchess Meghan and Duchess Catherine were pictured arriving at Buckingham Palace with their husbands Prince Harry and Prince William for the dazzling event.

Duchess Meghan, 37, who is expecting her first child, opted for a classic up-do with her dark locks parted to the side which meant her ornate silver earrings took pride of place.

She added a dramatic smokey eye, shimmering bronzer and a shiny nude lip.

Her husband Prince Harry looked dapper behind the wheel as he drove them in, donning a stylish tux and his usual Oura ring.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan arrive at Buckingham Palace to celebrate Prince Charles' birthday. *(Image: Getty)*
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan arrive at Buckingham Palace to celebrate Prince Charles' birthday. (Image: Getty)

In the next car, which was driven by a suited-up Prince William, his wife Duchess Catherine, 36, cut a stunning figure with her brunette locks swept up into an intricate and layered bun with a voluminous quiff at the front.

We were given a glimpse of the mother-of-three's sparkling antique earrings and the very hint of the top of her dress, which appeared to be a soft pink strapless creation.

On their way to Pa's bash! Prince William drives Duchess Catherine through the gates of the Palace. *(Image: Getty)*
On their way to Pa's bash! Prince William drives Duchess Catherine through the gates of the Palace. (Image: Getty)

Man of the hour, Prince Charles arrived to his private do in a chauffeur-driven car with wife Duchess Camilla by his side, while The Queen met her son at the palace gates to wish him a happy birthday.

WATCH: The gorgeous pictures of the royal family released for Prince Charles' 70th. Story continues below...

The birthday boy was chauffered to the glittering event with wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall by his side. *(Image: Dominic Lipinski/AP)*
The birthday boy was chauffered to the glittering event with wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall by his side. (Image: Dominic Lipinski/AP)

Other notable royals pictured arriving for the reception and dinner, which was thrown by The Queen in her son's honour, include newlyweds Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank as well as Zara and Mike Tindall.

Newlyweds princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksback were in attendance at the private Palace party too. *(Image: Getty)*
Newlyweds princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksback were in attendance at the private Palace party too. (Image: Getty)

But it's not just British royalty in attendance with several high-profile European royal dignitaries such as Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark flying in for the occasion.

READ NEXT: Prince Charles' 70th birthday portraits: 8 things you completely missed

At the dinner, The Queen toasted her son in a rare and heartfelt speech.

Here are her touching words, in full, which were shared on the royal family's official website.

"It is a privilege for any mother to be able to propose a toast to her son on his 70th birthday.

It means that you have lived long enough to see your child grow up. It is rather like —to use an analogy I am certain will find favour — planting a tree and being able to watch it grow.

My mother saw me turn 70, of course. And she was heard to observe that 70 is exactly the age when the number of candles on your cake finally exceeds the amount of breath you have to blow them out.

Over his 70 years, Philip and I have seen Charles become a champion of conservation and the arts, a great charitable leader — a dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history — and a wonderful father.

Most of all, sustained by his wife Camilla, he is his own man, passionate and creative.

So this toast is to wish a happy birthday to my son, in every respect a duchy original.

To you, Charles. To the Prince of Wales."

Your Majesty, we couldn't have put it better ourselves.

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