Prince Charles made an ‘offensive’ comment about his late wife, Princess Diana while speaking with her brother just days after she passed in a horrific Paris car crash, a royal author claims.
In his new book, Battle of Brothers: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, historian Robert Lacey describes a tense phone conversation between the future king and his brother-in-law, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, in the lead up to Diana’s funeral.
The men were arguing over whether or not the young Princes William, then 15, and Harry, 12, should join the public funeral procession behind their dead mother’s coffin. Prince Charles was adamant that his sons would participate on the kilometre or so walk to Westminster Abbey while the Earl, however, was firmly against it.
“Spencer felt quite sure that Diana would have been horrified at the idea of her sons having to endure such an ordeal,” Lacey writes in the excerpt shared with People magazine.
“He had already told Charles as much.” One call, Lacey alleges, “had ended with the Earl slamming down the phone on his brother-in-law after Charles had made a particularly offensive comment about Diana.”
While the nature of his comment remains unknown Prince Charles did get his way in the end, with both boys, their grandfather, Prince Philip, and uncle Earl Spencer solemnly following Diana’s coffin at her funeral on September 6, 1997.
Author Lacey also claims that the Earl of Spencer was already unhappy about other aspects of the arrangements for his late sister’s funeral.
“Prince Charles had no doubt that he should walk the long route with both his sons beside him. But Uncle Charles Spencer did not agree,” Lacey explained.
“He was already angry on his family’s behalf that his sister’s funeral had been hijacked into a royal occasion, and he was particularly opposed to the idea that his young nephews should have to walk the best part of a mile behind their mother’s coffin through the streets.”
It appears that Diana’s brother was correct to some degree, with Prince Harry revealing the trauma he experienced during his mother’s funeral in a moving interview with Newsweek 20 years later.
“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,” he told the publication in 2017.
“I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”