Prince Philip funeral: William and Harry will not walk side by side behind coffin

Royal brothers have suffered strained relationship since Harry's exit

Prince Harry, left, has admitted to strained relations with his brother, Prince William. AP 
Prince Harry, left, has admitted to strained relations with his brother, Prince William. AP 

Prince William and Prince Harry will not walk side by side behind the coffin of their grandfather Prince Philip at his funeral on Saturday, minimising the chances of public tension between the two royal brothers.

Buckingham Palace revealed that William and Harry's cousin, Peter Phillips, will walk between the princes as they escort the coffin to St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Palace officials refused to comment on whether the positioning was a way to minimise family tension after Harry admitted to strained relations with William during his interview with Oprah Winfrey.

“We’re not going to be drawn into those perceptions of drama or anything like that,’’ a palace spokesman said.

“This is a funeral and the arrangements have been agreed and they represent her majesty’s wishes.”

As young boys, William and Harry walked behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in 1997 in London in a ceremony watched around the world.

Harry's wife Meghan, who is pregnant and living in California with Harry, is not coming to the funeral on the advice of her doctor.

Prince Charles, the father of the princes, will lead the 15-member procession together with his sister, Princess Anne.

Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died last Friday at the age of 99.

In another effort to preserve family unity, the palace said senior royals would wear civilian clothes to the funeral.

The decision, signed off by the queen, means that Harry will not risk being the only member of the royal family not in uniform during the funeral.

Members of the royal family often wear uniforms to public events by virtue of their honorary roles with the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

But Harry lost his honorary military titles when he decided to give up front-line royal duties last year.

As a result, protocol suggests that Harry, an army veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, would only wear a suit with medals at royal functions.

The decision also sidesteps another potential controversy after reports that Prince Andrew, the queen’s second-oldest son, considered wearing an admiral’s uniform to his father’s funeral.

Andrew retains his military titles even though he was forced to step away from royal duties after a disastrous interview with the BBC about his acquaintance with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Attendance at the funeral will be limited to 30 people because of the coronavirus restrictions in England.

The list will include several of Prince Philip’s relatives from Germany, together with immediate members of the royal family. The children in the family will not attend.

Guests will wear masks inside the chapel and observe social distancing.

Members of the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the Royal Air Force and the British Army will take part in the funeral procession.

Prince Philip’s coffin will be carried to St George’s Chapel on a specially adapted Land Rover that he designed himself.

Updated: April 15, 2021 10:20 PM

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