Princes William and Harry spoke about their mother’s funeral in a BBC documentary called Diana, 7 Days.
Rumours have persisted for two decades that it was their grandfather, Prince Philip, who ultimately convinced the boys to walk behind the casket. The brothers cleared the air about whose decision it was.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, and it was a collective family decision to do that,” Prince William says in the documentary.
“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.”
Prince Harry said that he thought it was a group decision, and that “before I knew it, I found myself with a suit on with a black tie and a white shirt, I think, and I was part of it.”
“Genuinely, I don’t have an opinion on whether that was right or wrong. I am glad I was part of it. Looking back on it now, I am very glad I was part of it.”
Earlier this summer, Prince Harry said in a separate interview that no child should be made to do what he’d done in walking behind Diana’s casket, although this interview seems to walk back that opinion.
Prince William spoke of the “very long and lonely walk” behind his mother’s casket with the throngs of people crowding the route of the funeral procession.
“I couldn’t understand why everyone wanted to cry as loud as they did and show such emotion as they did when they didn’t really know our mother.”
Prince William also revealed that he used the fringe of his bangs to cover his eyes as he walked, and said, “I did feel a bit protective at times about that. I was like, ‘Well, you don’t even know…you didn’t even know her, why and how are you so upset?’”
“Now, looking back, I’ve learned to understand what it was that she gave the world, what she gave a lot of people. Back in the ‘90s there weren’t a lot of public figures doing what she did, so she was this ray of light in a fairly gray world.”
Prince Harry acknowledged the roles their grandmother, The Queen and their father, Prince Charles, played after Diana’s death, noting that “He was there for us.”
He said that the Queen’s decision to stay at Balmoral that week – drawing ire from around the world for the Royal Family’s perceived lack of care about Diana or the feelings of their subjects – gave them the “privacy to mourn.”
Prince William and Prince Harry have spoken out in three documentaries this year on the life of their mother. Diana, 7 Days, is the last the pair contributed to.
They will tour the gardens at Kensington Palace, designed in tribute to the late Diana, on 30 August accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge.