Princes William and Harry will not walk shoulder to shoulder at Duke of Edinburgh's funeral

Camilla Tominey
·4-min read
Princes William and Harry will not walk shoulder to shoulder at Duke of Edinburgh's funeral - Tolga Akmen/AFP
Princes William and Harry will not walk shoulder to shoulder at Duke of Edinburgh's funeral - Tolga Akmen/AFP

The Duke of Cambridge will not walk shoulder to shoulder with the Duke of Sussex at the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral, with the two being separated by Peter Phillips.

Seemingly in recognition of ongoing tensions between them, the royal brothers will flank their older cousin as they walk in a procession behind their grandfather's coffin from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle to the West Steps of St George's Chapel on Saturday.

They will be split up again when they walk to their seats in the Quire of the 15th Century church. Prince William, 38, is then expected to join the Duchess of Cambridge, 39, inside the chapel for the 3pm ceremony.

Although the seating plan has not yet been announced, it is thought Prince Harry, 36, will sit next to Mr Phillips, 43, who is attending the funeral alone after separating from his wife, Autumn, in February last year. The pregnant Duchess of Sussex, 39, has not flown over on doctors' advice.

Due to Government coronavirus restrictions on indoor worship, royals who do not live with each other will be seated two metres apart for the 50-minute service.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman refused to be drawn on why Princes William and Harry will not be walking in a pair like the Prince of Wales, 72, and the Princess Royal, 70 – leading the procession – and the Duke of York, 61, and the Earl of Wessex, 57, who will be positioned behind their siblings.

"All the arrangements are being done to meet with the Duke's wishes and Her Majesty making the final decision for her wishes on what's been done," said a spokesman. "If you look at the procession, it has four children, representative of grandchildren, and then some other members of the family.

"This is a funeral – we're not going to be drawn into those perceptions of drama or anything like that."

Princess Anne's husband, Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, 66, will walk behind Prince William, Mr Phillips and Prince Harry alongside the Queen's nephew the Earl of Snowdon, the 59-year-old son of the late Princess Margaret.

Prince Philip funeral
Prince Philip funeral

When they arrive at the doors of the chapel, those in the procession will pair off inside. Princess Anne and Prince Charles will walk together, followed by Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, then Mr Phillips and Prince William, followed by Prince Harry and Lord Linley with Sir Tim bringing up the rear.

A source close to Mr Phillips told The Telegraph he would "act as mediator", saying: "Pete is very diplomatic and gets on very well with both William and Harry. Clearly there are still tensions between the brothers, and Pete will try to defuse the situation.

"As the eldest of all the Queen's grandchildren, he will take responsibility for ensuring there are no problems on the day. He's a really nice guy and very protective of his whole family. All the cousins are incredibly close."

The royal brothers are not expected to be reunited until the day of the funeral because Prince Harry is quarantining at Frogmore Cottage, his former Windsor home, until Friday, while the Cambridges have been spending the Easter holidays at their Amner Hall home on the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

The siblings are understood to have spoken on the telephone since Prince Harry landed in the UK from Los Angeles on Sunday.

It will be their first face-to-face meeting in more than a year and comes after Prince Harry and Meghan gave an interview to the US chat show host Oprah Winfrey in which they suggested an unnamed royal had queried Archie's skin tone as well as describing William as "trapped" in the monarchy.

Sources close to both couples insist they will be putting their differences aside for the sake of the Queen as the family gathers to remember Prince Philip, who died on Friday at the age of 99.

As one royal source put it: "They know it is not about them on Saturday – it is about honouring their grandfather's memory and supporting their grandmother. I would be extremely surprised if that wasn't front and centre of both their minds. They will be keen to spend time together as a family in the same time zone for once."

Another well-placed insider said: "The entire focus is on the Queen. No exceptions. A family unified."