Harry and William Will Walk Behind Queen’s Coffin in Echo of Diana Funeral

Prince Harry and Prince William will join King Charles III on Wednesday to walk behind Queen Elizabeth II‘s coffin in an echo of Princess Diana’s funeral.

The Duke of Sussex and the new Prince of Wales will support their father and other royals in procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where Elizabeth will lie in state until her funeral on Monday.

They will walk for around 40 minutes as the coffin, bearing the royal standard, is transported on a gun carriage while thousands of mourners line the streets.

The experience may well be an emotional one for the brothers who, aged 12 and 15, played a similar role at Diana’s funeral 25 years and eight days ago on September 6, 1997.

William and Harry Mourn Queen
Prince William and Prince Harry meet well-wishers at Windsor Castle on Saturday, September 10, 2022, two days after Queen Elizabeth II’s death. Inset, they walk behind Princess Diana’s coffin in London at her 1997 funeral alongside her brother Charles Spencer.
Kirsty O’Connor – WPA Pool/Getty Images and JEFF J. MITCHELL/AFP via Getty Images

Back then, they joined Prince Charles, Diana’s brother Charles Spencer and Prince Philip while members of the public behind crowd control barriers yelled words of tribute.

Prince Harry told Newsweek in 2017 how difficult that experience was for them: “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.”

However, the brothers are adults now and, while nothing has been said publicly, had they wanted to push back on the request they would have been better able to do so.

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton will be among other royals following behind the procession in a car as queues to see the coffin were expected to reach around four miles along the River Thames to Southwark park in Bermondsey.

Westminster Hall will be open 24 hours a day until 6.30 a.m. on Monday, September 19, the day of Elizabeth’s funeral.

ITV News reported the number of visitors could be capped at 350,000 while some fear waiting times could be as long as 30 hours.

The queen’s coffin was flown by plane from Scotland, where she died at Balmoral Castle, to RAF Northolt in London on September 13.

She was then driven by hearse to Buckingham Palace where she spent her final night in the royal residence that was her main home for much of her life.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were invited to join King Charles III and other royals, including Prince William and Kate Middleton, to receive the coffin on Tuesday evening.

Harry, Meghan, William and Kate were photographed side by side for the first time since March 2020 when they met well wishers at Windsor Castle on September 10, 2022.

The show of unity was a sign the two couples were willing to put the royal rift behind them for the sake of the queen, during her period of mourning at least.

Queen's Coffin With Charles, Harry, Meghan
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is carried off a plane by the Queen’s Colour Squadron at RAF Northolt on September 13, 2022 ahead of her final journey to Buckingham Palace. King Charles III, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle [inset] were joined by Prince William, Kate Middleton and other royals to receive the coffin at the palace that night.
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

The arrival of the queen’s coffin at Buckingham Palace came on the day Princess Anne released her tribute to her mother.

She said in a statement: “I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother’s life. It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys.

“Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting.

“We will all share unique memories. I offer my thanks to each and every one who share our sense of loss.

“We may have been reminded how much of her presence and contribution to our national identity we took for granted. I am also so grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of The Monarch.

“To my mother, The Queen, thank you.”

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