Prince William found a 'strong female influence' in the Queen after Diana's death

Prince William found a much-needed source of support in the Queen after the tragic death of his mother, and he's spoken about the important role his grandmother played as a "strong female influence" - especially during his teenage years. William was just 15 when Princess Diana was tragically killed, and in a new interview he addresses this aspect of his life, one he rarely broaches.

Speaking to Sky News ahead of Her Majesty's 90th birthday, William said: "Having lost my mother at a very young age, it has been particularly important for me that I had somebody like the Queen to look up to and who has been there and has understood some of the more complex issues when you lose a loved one."

TAP TO VIEW GALLERYPrince William standing next to the Queen William described his grandmother as a "strong female influence"

William, 33, was also asked if he had any particularly fond childhood memories of the Queen, and with a smile he recalled an incident when she gave him and his cousins a huge telling off.

He explained: "(We) were on a quad bike in Balmoral and we were chasing Zara around who was on a go-cart. Peter and I managed to herd Zara into a lamppost and the lamppost came down and nearly squashed her.

"I remember my grandmother being the first person out and running across the lawn in her kilt. She came charging over and gave us the most almighty b*****king.

Prince William talking with the queen in front of helicopter The Prince has the Queen's full backing when it came to balancing his responsibilities

"That sort of stuck in my mind from that moment on that I really should be a little bit more careful about what I'm doing and try not to kill my cousins."

William went on to speak about the recent criticism he has received while trying to balance his royal duties with his family life and his job as an air ambulance pilot, and insisted he had his grandmother’s full backing.

"Surprisingly, she is very supportive of what I'm doing at the moment - she understands that I'm a family man and I want to be around for my children as much as I can," he said.

"Whilst we've got three very active generations of the family, she's very much at the helm, the Queen, she's incredibly active and her schedule is packed. My father is very active, charitably and otherwise - and there's me, Harry, Catherine and everyone else so there's a time and a place for taking on more and more responsibilities, and that will come."

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