Prince Harry talks about walking behind mother Princess Diana's coffin

Prince Harry says there was ‘absolutely no way’ that he or his brother would have let each other walk behind their mother Princess Diana’s coffin alone on day of her funeral

  • Brothers walked together behind coffin as it made way to Westminster Abbey
  • Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, when Harry was aged just 12  
  • Harry was speaking in interview with ITV’s Tom Bradby to promote memoir
  • Click here read all about Prince Harry’s interview as it airs

Prince Harry has said there was ‘absolutely no way’ he have let his brother walk behind his mother Princess Diana’s coffin alone.

The brothers famously had to walk together behind Diana’s coffin as it made its way to Westminster Abbey on the day of her funeral in 1997.  

Speaking in tonight’s interview with ITV journalist Tom Bradby, the Duke of Sussex said that after the ‘decision was made’ for the pair to walk along the route: ‘There’s absolutely no way that I would let him do that by himself.’ 

He added: ‘And there’s absolutely no way that he would let me do that by myself. It was, if it was role reversal.’

The ITV interview with Bradby is part of a publicity blitz for his bombshell memoir Spare, which is being released on Tuesday but was leaked at the end of last week. 

Harry also spoke movingly of his memories of the sound of the horses’ ‘bridles chinking’ as the procession made its way down The Mall, along with the sounds of ‘gravel underneath the foot and the wails from the crowd.’ 

But he said the ‘otherwise complete silence’ will ‘stick with me forever.’  

Prince Harry has said there was ‘absolutely no way’ he have let his brother walk behind his mother Princess Diana’s coffin alone. The brothers famously had to walk together behind Diana’s coffin as it made its way to Westminster Abbey on the day of her funeral in 1997. Above: Harry and William behind Diana’s coffin in 1997 with their father King Charles (right), grandfather Prince Philip (left) and uncle Earl Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother

Speaking in tonight’s interview with ITV journalist Tom Bradby, the Duke of Sussex said that after the ‘decision was made’ for the pair to walk along the route: ‘There’s absolutely no way that I would let him do that by himself’

Speaking of the decision to get him and Prince William to walk behind their mother’s coffin, Harry said: ‘…there was a lot of conversations that happened around times like that, of which I wasn’t part of, and William wasn’t part of, he was probably more part of it than I was.’

Harry also said that when he and his brother again walked the same route to Westminster Abbey together for the funeral of the Queen in September last year, they joked about knowing the way. 

But he added that whilst the Queen had ‘finished life’ and there was ‘respect and recognition for what she had accomplished’, Diana was ‘taken away far too young.’  

‘Just recently I was, we, my brother and I were walking the same route, and we sort of joked to each other and said, at least we know the way,’ he said. 

‘Um, but otherwise it was very similar. The only difference was the levels of emotion. Because our grandmother had finished life. 

‘There was more, I think, of a celebration and respect and recognition to what she had accomplished. Whereas our mother was taken away far too young.’ 

Earlier in the interview, in a clip shared by ITV before the programme aired, Harry revealed he only cried once over the death of his mother.  

The Duke of Sussex said he felt like he was ‘unable to show any emotion’ in public after her death in 1997, and that he had only shed tears when she was buried.

The 38-year-old told  Bradby he felt ‘some guilt’ as he greeted crowds who gathered to pay their respects to his mother outside Kensington Palace.

Prince Harry is seen walking between his father King Charles and uncle Earl Spencer as hit brother  stands next to his grandfather Prince Philip. Just feet ahead is Princess Diana’s coffin

Prince Harry is seen with his brother Prince William and father King Charles at the funeral of Princess Diana

Harry, seen above with his mother Princess Diana in Spain in 1987, told Bradby he had cried only once over her death

Speaking of only crying once, Harry said: ‘I cried once, at the burial, and you know I go into detail [in Spare] about how strange it was and how actually there was some guilt that I felt, and I think William felt as well, by walking around the outside of Kensington Palace.

‘There were 50,000 bouquets of flowers to our mother and there we were shaking people’s hands, smiling…

‘And the wet hands that we were shaking, we couldn’t understand why their hands were wet, but it was all the tears that they were wiping away.’

He added that everyone knew ‘where they were or what they were doing the night my mother died’.

‘Everyone thought and felt like they knew our mum, and the two closest people to her, the two most loved people by her, were unable to show any emotion in that moment,’ he said.

The interview with Bradby is the first of four broadcast appearances over the coming days, with the duke also speaking to Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes on CBS News on Sunday night, Michael Strahan of Good Morning America on Monday and Stephen Colbert on the Late Show on CBS on Wednesday morning UK time. 

Harry speaks often about the loss of his mother in his new memoir, which was released early by mistake in Spain last week.

It is set to officially hit the shelves on Tuesday.  

In the book, which was ghost-written by Pulitzer-winning author J.R. Moehringer, he writes about how his father, who was then the Prince of Wales, sat him down on a bed before breaking the news.

He says Prince Charles called him ‘my dear son’ before telling him his mother was unlikely to survive head injuries sustained in the crash in Paris in the early hours of August 31, 1997.

He paints the picture of an emotionally distant father, saying that Charles was ‘not good at expressing his emotions’.  

He wrote: ‘What I do remember with stunning clarity is that I did not cry. Not a tear. My father did not hug me.’

A grieving Prince Harry (centre) stands between his brother and father as the hearse carrying his mother’s coffin prepares to leave Westminster Abbey following her funeral service in 1997

Prince William ‘lunged at Harry, grabbed his shirt and used shocking secret code phrase about Diana’ during row over Oprah Winfrey interview as the pair tried to hold peace talks in front of Charles moments after Prince Philip’s funeral 


The Duke also recalls asking to go and visit his mother while she was in the hospital.

However, he says his father explained she ‘hasn’t recovered any more’, before saying he stayed in his room on his own until the following morning.

He recalls that he and his brother William were forbidden from watching the TV so they didn’t see news of the car crash. 

Harry adds that for a time he believed Diana had faked her own death and she was ‘running away’ to escape her ‘miserable’ life.

The Duke says his 13-year-old self had wondered if it was a ‘trick’, writing in the book: ‘Her life’s been miserable, she’s been hounded, harassed, lied about, lied to. So she’s staged an accident as a diversion and run away.’

He later admitted this was not the case, but said he returned to the theory as a source of comfort. 

Harry also admitted to trying to get closure by returning to the scene of his mother’s death.

The Princess of Wales was killed along with her partner Dodi Fayed when their driver Henri Paul crashed their car in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris in 1997. 

An inquest would later return a verdict of unlawful killing, blaming Paul, who was drunk at the time and also died in the crash, as well as the paparazzi following the vehicle.

Harry says he got his chauffeur to drive him at 65mph – the speed at which the crash happened – through the tunnel repeatedly to experience how her final journey would have felt.

He recounts the driver was shocked when he asked him if he knew the tunnel were his mother had died, and asked him to drive him through it.

Harry pictured with his mother and brother at the VE Remembrance Service in Hyde Park in 1995 

The Duke of Sussex speaks often about his mother in his new memoir Spare, which is released in the UK on January 10 

The royal reveals he barely felt anything when he entered the tunnel, writing it was: ‘The bump that supposedly sent Mummy’s Mercedes veering off course.’

He also recounts how he counted the lights and the pillar inside the tunnel as his car whizzed through, but was shocked at how short the tunnel actually was when he emerged.

Harry recalled imagining the tunnel was a dangerous route, but was surprised to learn it was a ‘no-frills tunnel’.

He recounts speaking to William about the tunnel where their mother had died after he had made the journey through it himself.

The pair then agreed to travel through it once more, together, after which Harry says they talked about their mother’s accident for the first time.

Following an investigation into Diana’s death, Harry described the final report as ‘an insult’ and ‘a shambles’ which he believed was inaccurate.

Harry claims in his memoir that his brother invoked their mother’s memory during an argument over his interview with Oprah (pictured)

In his memoir Harry also claims his brother invoked their mother’s memory during an argument over his interview with Oprah.

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The Duke writes that William got heated as they spoke after the funeral of their grandfather Prince Philip in 2021.

Harry claims he was trying to address bullying allegations made against Meghan, but his father and brother ‘weren’t listening.’

The California-based royal went on to allege that William was ‘really steaming’ and grasped at him as he tried to walk away.

‘I waved a hand, disgusted, but he lunged, grabbed my shirt. “Listen to me, Harold,”‘ Harry wrote in his book, according to The Sun.

‘I pulled away, refused to meet his gaze. He forced me to look into his eyes. “Listen to me, Harold, listen! I love you, Harold! I want you to be happy.”‘

Harry claims he replied: ‘I love you too…but your stubbornness is extraordinary!’

The Duke reportedly tried to pull away, but William allegedly ‘grabbed him again’ and ‘twisted him’ so the pair could maintain eye contact.

William then evoked the brother’s so-called ‘secret code’ and swore on Princess Diana’s life that his intentions were genuine, Harry penned.

He writes that William said: ‘Harold, you must listen to me! I just want you to be happy, Harold. I swear I swear on Mummy’s life.’

Harry continued: ‘He stopped. I stopped. Pa stopped. He’d gone there.

‘He’d used the secret code, the universal password. Ever since we were boys those three words were to be used only in times of extreme crisis.’

The Duke claimed his brother ‘wasn’t quite ready to accept defeat’ and claimed to be ‘properly sick and ill’ over the tensions between the pair.

William allegedly reiterated: ‘I swear to you now on Mummy’s life that I just want you to be happy’.

Harry claims his ‘voice broke’ and he ‘softly’ told William: ‘I really don’t think you do.’

The elder brother then allegedly hugged Harry and said: ‘I love you’.

MailOnline has approached representatives for William and Harry for comment.

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