William and Harry did the same walk behind Prince Philip and Diana’s coffins — but what a world apart

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William and Harry did the same walk behind Prince Philip and Diana’s coffins — but what a world apart

DIANA would have been so pleased with her boys yesterday. Their gaze was unwavering, their stance upright, proud of their place in the family ­p

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DIANA would have been so pleased with her boys yesterday.

Their gaze was unwavering, their stance upright, proud of their place in the family ­procession behind their grandfather’s coffin.

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Paul Edwards / The Sun

Prince William and Harry’s gaze was unwavering and their stance upright as they walked behind their grandfather’s coffin[/caption]

AP

What a difference from 24 years ago when William and Harry, heads bowed, walked behind their mother’s funeral cortege[/caption]

What a difference from that day, 24 years ago when William and Harry, heads bowed, walked behind their mother’s funeral cortege.

William, as he later admitted, tried to hide his face behind his fringe. These days he has no fringe to cover his face — not that he would have wanted to.

This time Prince Harry, who was terrified of walking behind his mother’s coffin, flew 6,000 miles from Los Angeles to pay his final respects to the man he described affectionately as “master of the barbecue, legend of banter and cheeky right ’til the end”.

But what would have truly warmed Diana’s heart is that William and Harry, who did not even glance at one another during the procession with other royal men, did speak to one another at the conclusion of the funeral service — the first time they had met face to masked face in a year.

Their five-minute chat was the first sign of a possible reconciliation since Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview more than a month ago.

Back in 1997, it was touch and go if the boys, then 15 and 12, would walk behind Diana’s cortege.

AP

This time, the walk to St George’s Chapel from Windsor Castle was over in eight minutes[/caption]

Jayne Fincher

Diana would have been so pleased with her boys[/caption]

The evening before, Prince Philip asked: “If I walk, will you walk with me?”

They agreed, but both have since said that it was the hardest thing they endured that day.

“It was a very long, lonely walk,” recalls William.

Their grandfather tried to make matters easier by pointing out places of interest on that endless march.

This time, the walk to St George’s Chapel from Windsor Castle was over in eight minutes.

The two men stared straight ahead, avoiding eye contact as they knew that the cameras were waiting to capture the merest hint of brotherly amity, or enmity.

UNMISTAKABLE & PROFOUND

Even though, thanks to Covid, there were no straining crowds, the echoes of Diana’s funeral were unmistakable and profound.

At first glance, the two ceremonies could not be more different — Philip’s exclusively family and military, the other inviting all-comers to watch the final departure of England’s Rose.

Instead of military bigwigs, ­representatives of Diana’s charities walked behind the royal party to Westminster Abbey.

Millions lined the streets and billions watched on TV. As her body was taken to ­Althorp, the family seat, thousands threw flowers on to the hearse.

For both occasions, the sense of loss was symbolised by two little white cards nestling in the flowers on the two coffins, one Diana’s, the other Philip’s.

One read: “Mummy” and was from Harry, the other, from the Queen, said simply: “In Loving Memory.”

Getty

Harry and William stared straight ahead, avoiding eye contact as they knew that the cameras were waiting[/caption]

pixel8000

It would have warmed Diana’s heart that William and Harry spoke to one another at the conclusion of the funeral service[/caption]

AFP

For Philip, 30 family members took part in the ceremony which was 13 years in the planning[/caption]

For Philip, 30 family members took part in the ceremony which was 13 years in the planning.

The Duke, like his uncle Lord Mountbatten, attended to every last detail including the design of a Land Rover to carry his coffin.

His motto in life was expressed in his brisk arrangements. The solemn ceremony was a classic demonstration of the stiff upper lip, the Royal Family not prepared to wear private grief on a public sleeve.

At Diana’s funeral, which had been scrambled together, tears ran down cheeks and spectators mourned loud and long.

Everyone remembers Elton John’s emotional rendition of Candle in the Wind which echoed around the abbey. It immediately went to number one.

Though Philip had asked English composer Benjamin Britten to ­create Jubilate in C, which was sung by the choir of just four inside St George’s Chapel, it is doubtful if that refrain will be top of the pops.

 

Philip’s funeral had a remote dignity, emphasised by the Covid-ordained distance between the ­congregation.

In Diana’s funeral week, the nation was seized by a convulsion of emotion.

The Queen and her husband were baffled by the outpouring of grief for someone most had never met.

But at the heart of both occasions lay uneasiness.

After Diana’s death, the failure to fly the flag at half-mast at Buckingham Palace, the reluctance of the Queen to return to London from Balmoral, and the seeming indifference to the late princess — “You were a rose in a family of thorns” read one typically hostile message — showed the uneasy relationship between the Royal Family and their subjects.

BANANA-SKIN MOMENT

This time it was the furore over Meghan and Harry’s departure and that Oprah Winfrey interview.

The Queen defused any potential banana-skin moment between Harry and William by placing their older cousin Peter Phillips between them in the funeral procession.

On one memorable occasion, William and Peter earned the Queen’s wrath when they were riding together on a quad bike and crashed.

“She came charging over and gave us the most almighty b*****king,” recalled the future king.

She might like to give her two princely grandchildren another b*****king, but that’ll have to wait.

Getty – Contributor

In Diana’s funeral week, the nation was seized by a convulsion of emotion[/caption]

Getty – Contributor

Back in 1997, it was touch and go if the boys, then 15 and 12, would walk behind Diana’s cortege[/caption]

Reuters

The evening before, Prince Philip asked: ‘If I walk, will you walk with me?’[/caption]


Prince Philip has been laid to rest in a unique, socially-distanced royal ceremony.

It remains to be seen if the two brothers can ever bridge the social distance that now lies between them.

That five-minute chat post-funeral was a start.

 

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