They were rumoured to have a difficult relationship in the years shortly before Princess Diana’s tragic death, but it’s now been claimed Prince Philip put his alleged differences with his former daughter-in-law aside on the day of her funeral – for a heartbreaking reason.
Millions of people around the world watched on as a young Prince William and Prince Harry bravely walked behind their mother’s coffin on September 6, 1997, past crowds of mourners lining the streets of London with Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, their father Prince Charles and their grandfather Prince Philip by their sides.
Now, royal author Ingrid Seward claims to have revealed the real reason Philip joined his younger relatives on the sombre walk in her new book, My Husband And I: The Inside Story of the Royal Marriage.
In an excerpt from the novel, published by The Sun, Seward claimed Earl Spencer wanted to be the only person to walk behind the coffin at first – but Charles allegedly argued, insisting he should be there with his sons.
“In a mark of respect to an ex-wife and a departed mother, Prince Charles wanted to walk behind the cortege with William and Harry beside him,” Seward reportedly wrote.
She claimed they eventually had a heated phone conversation to argue it out, ending with Spencer hanging up on his former brother-in-law. It was eventually decided that Charles and the boys would join him on the solemn walk.
However, there was a much bigger obstacle shortly after, as Seward claimed William initially refused to walk behind his mother’s coffin and only agreed on one surprising condition – that his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, would walk beside him.
“At first William flatly refused. Charles pleaded with him and said that it would be utterly wrong of him not to accompany them,” Seward is said to have written. “Prince Philip weighed into the argument and eventually William agreed to take part – but only on the condition that his grandfather walked beside him.”
The author claimed while Diana and Philip’s relationship had become fairly fractured in her final years, William had always been incredible close to his grandfather – and that was honoured on the day.
William previously revealed how difficult he found walking behind Diana’s coffin in 2017 BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days, saying: “It wasn’t an easy decision, and it was a collective family decision to do that. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But we were overwhelmed by how many people turned out, it was just incredible. There was that balance between duty and family and that’s what we had to do.”