William and Harry walk apart behind Philip's coffin – 23 years after walking behind Diana's

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

Watch: William and Harry walk apart behind Philip's coffin – 23 years after walking behind Diana's

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.

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.

British Royals Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, attending the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) at Westminster Abbey, London, England, 6th September 1997. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles during the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. (Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17:  (L-R) Prince Andrew, Duke of York,  Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex,  Peter Phillips, Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Samir Hussein - Pool/Wireimage)
Prince Andrew, Prince William, Prince Edward, Peter Phillips, the Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones, Prince Harry, and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence during the procession. (Wireimage)

Read more: Prince Philip funeral: Queen, Prince Charles, William and Harry lead mourners at Windsor Castle

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. 

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.

The Prince of Wales and his sons Prince Harry and William, along with the Duke of Edinburgh and Earl Spencer (left of pic)  arrive at Westminster Abbey after following the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales (right) through London today (Sat).   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
The Prince of Wales and his sons Harry and William, along with the Duke of Edinburgh and Earl Spencer, followed the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997. (PA Images via Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence follow Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's coffin during the Ceremonial Procession during the funeral of Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, United Kingdom. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William, Peter Phillips, Prince Harry, Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence follow Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh's coffin during the Ceremonial Procession. (Getty Images)

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'."

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."

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England. Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark was born 10 June 1921, in Greece. He served in the British Royal Navy and fought in WWII. He married the then Princess Elizabeth on 20 November 1947 and was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich by King VI. He served as Prince Consort to Queen Elizabeth II until his death on April 9 2021, months short of his 100th birthday. His funeral takes place today at Windsor Castle with only 30 guests invited due to Coronavirus pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Members of the Royal Family followed the duke's coffin in a procession to St George's Chapel. (WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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 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.

Watch: Minute's Silence Observed for Prince Philip Outside Windsor Castle