23 years after Diana's funeral, William and Harry walk apart behind Philip's coffin

Lifestyle Team
·3-min read

It was a moment seared into public consciousness. Two brothers walking solemnly behind their mother's coffin as they bid her farewell, a nation in mourning alongside them.

And at their grandfather's funeral, Prince William and Prince Harry have once again walked in slow tribute to a much-loved family member.

Prince William, Peter Phillips and Prince Harry follow Prince Philip's coffin
Prince William, Peter Phillips and Prince Harry follow Prince Philip's coffin as it arrives at St George's Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip. Photo: Getty

In September 1997, William and Harry, then aged 15 and 12, wore black suits and bowed their heads as they walked flanked by their grandfather Prince Philip, their uncle Earl Spencer, and their father Prince Charles.

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On Saturday, 17 April 2021, more than 23 years later, they donned black suits again as they joined their family behind the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, in a much smaller ceremony.

This time the two men were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips, amid reports of their own falling out as Harry sets up a new life in the US. 

Prince Philip, Prince William, Charles Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles follow Diana's coffin
It's believed it was Prince Philip was able to convince William and Harry to walk behind their mother's coffin at her funeral in 1997. Photo: Getty

Although they were separated by Phillips during the procession, they were spotted walking and chatting together after the ceremony, alongside William's wife Kate.

William appeared to wait for a moment for his younger brother, who is in the UK alone because his pregnant wife was not able to attend the ceremony, and they made their way up the hill from the chapel alongside each other.

In 1997, it was reportedly the Duke of Edinburgh who encouraged the two boys to walk behind the coffin.

Princess Anne recalled: "I seem to remember him saying that, in fact, it was a question of 'if you'll do it, I'll do it'."

Prince Harry and Prince William were led by their father Prince Charles
The brothers were led by their father, as they processed through the Windsor Castle grounds behind a bespoke Land Rover hearse, designed by Prince Philip

The brothers later indicated it had been a hard decision, with Harry suggesting he should not have been asked to do it.

He told Newsweek in 2017: "My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television.

"I don't think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don't think it would happen today."

Nearly a quarter of a century later, the brothers were led by their father, as they processed through the Windsor Castle grounds behind a bespoke Land Rover hearse, designed by Prince Philip.

Prince Harry sat alone at the funeral
Prince Harry had to sit alone while he was in the quire, as the only person from his household at the funeral. Photo: Getty

Prince Harry had to sit alone while he was in the quire, as the only person from his household at the funeral.

His grandmother, the Queen, now a widow, was also alone.

In both their tributes to the duke, Princes William and Harry noted his desire to "get on" - either "with it" or "the job".

The passing of their beloved Grandpa may help repair their rift.

Written by Rebecca Taylor

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