United in sorrow, neither the world nor the brothers could miss the significance of their being reunited to walk behind their beloved grandfather's coffin in Windsor on Saturday.

It's all the more poignant because the last time Prince William and Prince Harry took such a public walk, behind the coffin of their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, it was the very man they are now mourning who stood so tall as the literal pillar of strength they needed.

 

William had only agreed to walk on that terrible day in September 1997 because the duke did. "I'll walk if you walk," he had told his grandsons, demonstrating they were stronger together.

And now, 24 years later, it was time to say goodbye to the man who had been so pivotal both on that day and their subsequent journeys from boys to men.

It was also - clearly - not the time to be airing their grievances. And so, William and Harry walked together, apart, like a metaphor of their relationship.

They walked in silence, with cousin Peter Phillips in-between, solemn, but heads up, with resolve.

 

 

In 1997 Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh was a pillar of strength to William and Harry at their mother’s funeral. Picture: AFP
In 1997 Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh was a pillar of strength to William and Harry at their mother’s funeral. Picture: AFP

 

Back in 1997 their heads had been bowed so low they looked like they were almost being crushed by the burden of grief on such young shoulders.

At some points, they were almost doubled over, unable to look at anyone in the eye. This time, it was different - their grandfather had, after all, lived to just shy of a century, a long, productive and loving life.

As they left Windsor Castle in the spring sunshine, to the sounds of canons firing and the beat of a drum, they were once again in step.

Royal commentators noted the brothers knew they had a job to do at St George's Chapel, which was to honour their grandfather and think of the Queen - "a family unified." Royal reporter Roya Nikkhah of The Times, said the brothers were determined to "show unity".

Originally published as Harry and William, together apart



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