09/27/2012

William and Harry's longtime and beloved nanny dies

A treasured influence in the lives of Princes William and Harry is no more.

Olga Powell was their nanny for 15 years, caring for them as they grew from toddlers to young men, through family turmoil, divorce, and their mother's death -- and always in the media's glare.

Powell died Tuesday after collapsing outside her home in Broxbourne, a town outside London. She was 82.

HI_M32493“The two princes have been informed and they are both very saddened by the news, as you can imagine," a spokesman for William and Harry told the Hertfordshire Mercury.

Powell had been part of the royals' life since William was six months old and living in Kensington Palace. She was the constant presence in Will and Harry's life as the family went through some hectic and trying times, eventually leading to Princess Diana and Prince Charles separation in 1992, when William was just 10. (photo: the boys with Princess Diana in 1991)

After her retirement, Powell  continued to stay in touch with the boys, whom she described as "just like any other children."

Powell was a guest at William's graduation from Sandhurst military college in 2006 and also at his wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.

“I have a very normal relationship with them," she said in an interview before the wedding. "Their upbringing was very normal and their parents wanted them to have as ordinary a childhood as they could."

Harry and William, she said, were "like my grandsons."

The Mirror reported that just last week Powell wrote to Harry, worrying about his safety in Afghanistan, where he is serving as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner.

After retiring, Powell was awarded the Royal Victorian Medal.

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