Walking behind his grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s coffin brought back memories of Princess Diana’s funeral for Prince William. The heir to the throne admitted to crowds in Sandringham on Thursday that the procession the day before “had been very difficult.”
Jane Wells, who had come to lay flowers, revealed, “He told us yesterday [Wednesday] had been particularly difficult and following the coffin had reminded him of his mother’s funeral, of Diana.”
“He said it had been very difficult,” Jane added. “I said, ‘Your mother would be so proud of you and thank you for sharing your grief with us’ and he said, ‘I’m learning that she was everyone’s grandmother - the way people have reacted.’”
William walked side by side with his brother Prince Harry—who was between the Prince of Wales and their cousin Peter Phillips—during the procession to the Palace of Westminster on Sept. 14. The walk behind their grandmother’s coffin came 25 years after William and Harry followed their mother Princess Diana’s coffin in September of 1997.
On Wednesday, when a person in the crowd told the Prince of Wales that she was close to tears, William replied, “Don’t cry now - you’ll start me.” The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Sandringham on Sept. 15 to view floral tributes that had been left for Queen Elizabeth, who died on Sept. 8.
Kensington Palace released a moving statement from William two days after his grandmother’s passing. “On Thursday, the world lost an extraordinary leader, whose commitment to the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth was absolute. So much will be said in the days ahead about the meaning of her historic reign. I, however, have lost a grandmother. And while I will grieve her loss, I also feel incredibly grateful. I have had the benefit of The Queen’s wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade,” he said.
“My wife has had twenty years of her guidance and support. My three children have got to spend holidays with her and create memories that will last their whole lives. She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life,” William continued. “I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real. I thank her for the kindness she showed my family and me. And I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all.”
The Prince concluded his statement saying, “My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love. All of the sadness we will feel in the coming weeks will be testament to the love we felt for our extraordinary Queen. I will honour her memory by supporting my father, The King, in every way I can.”