Prince William and Harry’s ‘fragile truce’: Brothers did not travel together after Queen’s coffin vigil

Inside William and Harry’s ‘fragile truce’: Brothers did not travel together after Queen’s coffin vigil but stopped for chat through car window on Duke’s 38th birthday – as friend says there’s ‘no sense things will be mended’

  • The Prince of Wales went home from Westminster Hall with his eldest cousin Peter Phillips, not Prince Harry
  • Brothers met briefly, by accident, on Harry’s birthday – but only spoke briefly through their car windows
  • Spectre of Harry’s memoirs remains. ‘Other things will come out that will be very damaging’, source said

The fragile truce between Prince William and Prince Harry was laid bare last night after they decided not travel in the same car after guarding the Queen’s coffin together with ‘no meaningful rapprochement’ between the feuding brothers and their wives, it was claimed today.

The Prince of Wales went home from Westminster Hall with his eldest cousin Peter Phillips – who has acted as a ‘buffer’ between the siblings at UK events since they fell out including at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year.

Prince Harry left Parliament in a limousine with Zara Phillips – whose retired rugby star husband reportedly called the Duke of Sussex a ‘b***end’ at the Platinum Jubilee as insiders claimed he has found it ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘difficult’ to be so close to William while in Britain for the past fortnight.

A report by The Sunday Times’ Roya Nikkah claims the brother are no closer to ‘mending’ their fractured relationship despite spending more time in close proximity this week than they have in years.

Ms Nikkah claims they even bumped into each other on Harry’s 38th birthday on Thursday – but only spoke through a car window – in one of a number of ‘awkward moments’ since the Queen’s death – where they have stayed just a few hundred yards apart in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

William and Harry appeared with their wives to inspect flowers a week ago before walking behind the Queen’s coffin at Westminster and then guarding Her Majesty’s casket in Westminster Hall last night.

One friend of the estranged brothers said: ‘The joint appearances take effort. There was an understanding that ‘we need to show solidarity’, not just ‘we need to do this because it’s our duty’. But I don’t think it goes much beyond that. There have been some awkward moments this week. I definitely don’t get the sense of any deeper meaningful rapprochement or a sense that this is it: things will be mended.’ Harry’s memoirs remain an ongoing tension. One source said: ‘We know there are other things that will come out in the future that will be very damaging.’

Harry and Meghan have been away from their children in California for two weeks after their pseudo-royal tour of Europe was tragically extended by the Queen’s death. The Sussexes have been in Frogmore Cottage throughout with the Wales’s in Adelaide Cottage, around 400ft apart as the crow flies.

On Thursday Harry celebrated his birthday – and was in a car with Meghan when he reportedly bumped into his older brother as they drove around the Windsor estate. William was returning from the school run with George, Charlotte and Louis.

After passing each other The Sunday Times claims both men stopped, and apparently reversed back towards each other. But they stayed in their cars, choosing to wind down their windows and chat for a while.

A source close to Harry said that the contact with his brother had been ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘difficult’ for them both – but ‘everybody is trying their best’.

Another insider claimed that Harry’s brushes with his brother made him feel a ‘twinge’ of regret ‘about what could have been’ and left him feeling that ‘it didn’t have to be this ugly’ between them.

A friend of the Sussexes says: ‘They are very sensitive to how everything is happening and very much see the bigger picture, not just from a personal point of view but from the family’s point of view. Meghan is not afraid of throwing in a hand grenade here and there, but there are no toys being thrown out of the pram now. Their view is: ‘Let’s get on and do it — we’ll be where we need to be and we won’t be where we don’t need to be.’

William is ‘solely focussed on the Queen’ – not repairing the relationship with his brother – sources told Ms Nikkah.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, is said to have considered wearing a morning suit to avoid embarrassment as the monarch’s eight grandchildren carried out a sombre guard of honour inside Westminster Hall last night.

William and Harry, both dressed in military uniform, stood at either end of their grandmother’s coffin. They were joined by cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Lady Louise Windsor and her brother Viscount Severn.

Harry, who saw action on the front line during two tours of duty in Afghanistan, had previously been prevented from wearing military uniform this week as he is no longer a working royal.

He was granted permission by King Charles to wear the livery for the vigil inside the Palace of Westminster.

However, the Duke of Sussex is understood to have been devastated to find his grandmother’s initials had been stripped from the shoulder of his uniform, The Sunday Times reports. The initials were not removed from Prince William’s uniform.

Harry’s despair is understood to largely centre around Prince Andrew, who is also no longer a working royal, having retained the initials on his vice-admiral’s uniform as the Queen’s children held a vigil on Friday night.

The Duke of Sussex was a Personal Aide de Camp of the Queen and, as a result, had previously worn the cypher. But it was among the posts he resigned when he stepped down from royal duties and moved to California.

The ‘ER’ initials are traditionally only worn by those ‘in service’ of the monarch, and so the absence of the cypher is thought to be down to dress regulations as opposed to a direct snub of the prince.

But such was his despair, Harry is said to have considered wearing a morning suit as they were leaving in order to avoid the embarrassment last night.

A friend told the newspaper: ‘He is heartbroken. To remove his grandmother’s initials feels very intentional.’

It comes amid hopes of reconciliation between the brother’s following the Queen’s death, with the princes standing side by side as they walked behind her coffin as it was moved to lie in state at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday.

It was a poignant moment that drew comparisons to walking behind the coffin of their mother Princess Diana at her funeral in 1997.

That came after William and Harry put on an an unexpected united front with their respective wives Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle during a walkabout outside Windsor Castle on Saturday.

But sources close to the brothers are understood to have said there has been ‘no meaningful rapprochement’ as of yet.

They joined other royals for dinner at Buckingham Palace as they received the Queen’s coffin at Buckingham Palace this week.

The Queen’s eight grandchildren – including Prince Harry in his military uniform – stood by her coffin in her honour as she lay in state in Westminster Hall as weeping mourners filed past tonight.

Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren Prince William, the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, arrived just before 6pm where they held a 15-minute vigil.

Brothers William and Harry – both dressed in uniform – stood guard at the Queen’s lying in state in Westminster Hall on Saturday evening as a stream of mourners filed past after queueing for hours.

Prince Harry, who saw action on the front line during two tours of duty in Afghanistan, has previously been denied the chance to wear his military uniform as he publicly mourns, because he is no longer a working royal.

But royal sources said the King decided his youngest son could wear uniform for the vigil.

Despite being a former Army officer, Harry has been in civilian dress for official events this week, including walking behind the Queen’s coffin on Wednesday.

On Saturday evening, Prince Harry was wearing the Blues and Royals, No.1 Uniform, KCVO Neck Order and Star, Afghanistan Operational Service Medal, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and Army Pilot Wings.

Prince William was wearing the Blues and Royals, No.1 Uniform, The Garter Sash, The Garter Star, Golden, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals and RAF Pilot Wings.

The brothers were joined in their silent tribute around the coffin by cousins Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and Lady Louise Windsor and her brother Viscount Severn.

The young royals, led by Prince William, were in position at the top of the grand committee staircase in the corner of the vast hall at 5.58pm.

At 6pm, the tapping which signifies the changing of the guard sounded and William began walking down the steps, one at a time, followed by Harry, then Beatrice and Eugenie side by side, Louise and James side by side, and Zara and Peter also side by side.

Silence fell as members of the public looked on, with the only sound being the grandchildren’s footsteps on the stone.

Prince William was positioned at one end of the coffin, facing the north entrance, while Harry was positioned at the opposite end, facing the area of the hall where thousands of people have entered over the last few days.

The Prince of Wales stood with his hands clasped in front and his head bowed.

Louise and James’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, looked on from a platform facing the coffin.

Members of the public continued to file past while the Queen’s grandchildren stood guard, with some women wiping tears away from their face as they left the hall.

At 6.15pm, the tapping sounded and the grandchildren ended their vigil.

Prince William led the group away from the coffin, followed by Zara and Peter, Louise and James, Beatrice and Eugenie, and finally Harry.

 

 

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