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Walking behind mother’s coffin ‘one of the hardest things I’ve done’, Prince William says

Prince William (left) and Prince Harry, the sons of Diana, Princess of Wales, bow their heads as their mother's coffin is taken out of Westminster Abbey following her funeral service (Adam Butler/PA Wire)
Prince William (left) and Prince Harry, the sons of Diana, Princess of Wales, bow their heads as their mother's coffin is taken out of Westminster Abbey following her funeral service (Adam Butler/PA Wire)

THE Duke of Cambridge has revealed in a new documentary how he believed his mother’s presence was almost beside him as he walked in her funeral cortege.

William and Prince Harry are featured in the BBC programme that recounts the days after Diana, Princess of Wales’ death in a Paris car crash on August 31 1997.

The Duke says in the programme, which will be screened on August 27: “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, is that walk.

“I felt like she was almost walking along beside us, to get us through it.”

In a interview with Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, for GQ magazine, William said about the walk: “I didn’t feel comfortable anyway, having that massive outpouring of emotion around me.

“I am a very private person, and it was not easy.

“There was a lot of noise, a lot of crying, a lot of wailing, people were throwing stuff, people were fainting.”

Harry voiced his disapproval at having to walk in Diana’s funeral cortege with his older brother, his father the Prince of Wales, grandfather Duke of Edinburgh and his uncle Earl Spencer, in an interview with Newsweek magazine.

Harry told the publication: “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”

Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, who is also featured in the documentary, has claimed in a separate BBC interview he was “lied to” about the desire of William and Harry to walk behind their mother’s coffin.

He said he raised objections with royal officials before being told his nephews wanted to do it, adding he later realised this was not the case.

Speaking about his experiences following his mother’s death Harry said in the new documentary: “I remember people’s hands were wet because of the tears they’d just wiped away.”

The documentary Diana, 7 Days will also feature contributions by the Princess’ sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale, her former lady-in-waiting Anne Beckwith-Smith and ex-prime minister Tony Blair.

Diana, 7 Days will be screened on August 27 at 7.30pm on BBC1.