British princes William and Harry walked behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, just as they did 25 years ago with her mother, Princess Diana, but without showing any signs of reconciliation.
With a Harry memoir due out next year, and behind-the-scenes discussions about military uniforms and titles for their sons, they and their wives, Kate and Meghan, seemed as far apart as ever.
The brothers did their duty, walking side by side behind their father, King Charles III, and other senior members of the royal family, as their grandmother’s coffin was carried to Westminster Abbey for her funeral.
William, heir to the throne of his father Charles III, wore a military uniform. Harry, who has been banned from doing so since he abandoned his life as a royal, wore a suit in which he had his medals pinned to it.
As the coffin entered the abbey, Harry kept his eyes lowered as other members of the family in military uniform saluted.
Last week, William told the public that walking behind his grandmother’s coffin had brought back painful memories of his mother’s funeral procession in 1997, when he was 15 and his brother was just 12.
But if that painful shared experience was on their minds, there was no outward acknowledgment of it.
At the entrance to the abbey, the brothers, who were once so close they could finish each other’s sentences, were joined by their wives and by William and Kate’s two eldest sons, nine-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, aged seven, who are second and third, respectively, in the line of succession to her grandfather.
Kate, newly crowned Princess of Wales, like William’s mother Diana, wore a black ensemble with a wide-brimmed hat and her hair pulled back in a bun. Meghan wore a black cape and dress and a wide-brimmed hat.
– Banned the uniform –
The four, who were seen as the future of the monarchy until they parted ways, didn’t make eye contact as they walked down the aisle behind the coffin and sat down separately.
William and his family sat on a front bench with his father and his brothers Ana, Andrés and Eduardo.
Harry and Meghan, officially the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sat in a second row directly behind the King and Queen consort with their cousin Princess Beatrice.
It had been speculated that Harry might wear his uniform at the funeral after he appeared dressed in the uniform of the Blues and Royals cavalry regiment in which he served, at a vigil by the queen’s coffin on Saturday night. , but it seems that this was a last gesture of the king towards his son.
Harry served twice with the British Army in Afghanistan, but strict protocols reserve military dress for active, full members of the royal family for occasions such as funerals.
This has left Harry in a difficult position since he abandoned his royal duties to move to North America in 2020.
In an interview with US presenter Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said an unidentified member of the Royal House had expressed concern to her about the color of her son’s skin.
She also accused Kate of making her cry, and the palace aides of not wanting to help her when she felt suicidal.
The frosty relations between the two couples are a far cry from the days when they were hailed by the media as the “fab four” – the fabulous four, as the Beatles were nicknamed.
Two days after the queen’s death, public hopes for an end to the damaging breakup were also raised when the two couples appeared on an impromptu walk outside Windsor Castle.
However, sources told the Daily Mail that “no significant rapprochement” had taken place so far.