William, Harry won’t be shoulder-to-shoulder at funeral

LONDON (AFP) – British royals William and Harry will not walk side by side in the procession at this weekend’s funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace revealed on Thursday.

As young boys in 1997, the pair provided the most poignant image of their mother princess Diana’s funeral as they walked, heads bowed, behind her coffin.

Prince Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied them, alongside their father Prince Charles and uncle Charles Spencer.

Their grandfather’s funeral, at Windsor Castle at 3pm (10pm Brunei time) today, is the pair’s first reunion since Harry’s shock move to the United States (US) last year.

It will be closely watched for signs of strains in the sibling relationship, with confirmation they will not walk shoulder-to-shoulder and instead be separated by cousin Peter Phillips likely to fuel speculation that a rift persists.

King’s Troup Royal Horse Artillery rehearses on the Long Walk at Windsor Castle in Windsor. PHOTO: AP

The brothers have reportedly fallen out over Harry’s departure from the royal frontline and move to California with his wife, Meghan.

When the coffin, to be carried on a bespoke Land Rover designed to Philip’s specifications, arrives at St George’s Chapel, William will move ahead of his younger brother as the royal mourners enter in pairs.

The procession elements were among the eagerly-awaited details released by the Palace ahead of the service, which has been curtailed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Philip died last Friday at the age of 99 and Britain has this week been observing eight days of official mourning in the build-up to his burial.

Just 30 guests will be permitted at the 50-minute funeral, in line with government regulations.

Attendees including the queen, 94, will be required to wear face masks, sit apart and observe COVID-19 social distancing rules.

She will be accompanied to the venue in the state Bentley by a lady-in-waiting, before sitting alone in the chapel.

Charles, his wife Camilla, and the monarch’s three other children and eight grandchildren, as well as all their spouses, will be present. Other guests include the children of the queen’s late sister Princess Margaret, and three of Philip’s German relatives.