How the lives of the princes changed after Diana’s death 25 years ago

Seven days after Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in Paris, her funeral marked the beginning of a new chapter in which the British monarchy nearly lost its place in the hearts of a mourning nation.

The 107-minute royal ceremonial funeral procession from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey on September 6, 1997 was watched by 2.5 billion people worldwide, 33.5 million Britons on television, one million along along the highways and streets of London, and 2,000 dignitaries, heads of state and celebrities inside the abbey.

Behind his gun cart, heads bowed, there were only five.

At 10 a.m., as the abbey bell rang, Diana’s sons, Princes William, 15, and Harry, 12, walked for the last 34 minutes from St. James’s Palace between their father, Prince Charles , Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer (Earl Spencer), and her grandfather. Prince Philip.

In an outpouring of grief never before seen in modern British history, the crowd sobbed and groaned as the princes walked behind their mother’s coffin.

The decision to involve Diana’s young children was not made lightly. As history records, it was Prince Philip who stepped in to ensure that the royal occasion would forever be documented in history.

In 2017, a Channel 5 movie, Diana: 7 days that shook the Windsors, noted that Prince William had refused for days to walk in the procession. On the morning of the funeral, he changed his mind.

“In the end, Prince Philip talked William into doing it, and he put a grandfatherly arm around him and said, ‘If I go too, will you?'” says a friend of Diana’s, Richard Kay.

“I didn’t know they were going to do it. My spine tingled and I thought, my God, how brave,” recalled Anji Hunter, who was then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s director of government relations.

Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter was also interviewed for the documentary: “It was quite a rough experience for them and they pulled it off with such aplomb…it’s unbelievable.”

“Whose heart cannot go out to those boys today… who can avoid a choke to the throat by seeing them… an almost intolerable moment as they take their place behind their mother’s coffin,” the film’s narrator said.

How their lives changed forever

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge

Biographer Sally Bedell Smith explained William’s reluctance to do anything public, saying that Prince Philip told the children that if they didn’t walk, they might regret it later.

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William finished school at Eton and met Kate Middleton at the University of St Andrews.

Fittingly, they married eight years later in a fairytale ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 2011. They have three children: Prince George, born 2013, Princess Charlotte, born 2015, and Prince Louis, born 2018. .

Prince William, second in line to the throne, is about to move to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor so all his children can attend the same school and the family can be closer to the Queen.

He is involved in multiple charities, including wildlife conservation, environmental issues, and the homeless, which Diana was also involved with.

His dedication and sense of duty has never been on shaky ground.

On William’s 40th birthday, vanity fair he wrote that he and his father were close and were modernizing the monarchy.

“They are absolutely on the same page, in fact they are closer than ever now,” said a family friend. vanity fair.

“They talk almost every day and have a very loving and genuine connection. They believe in the monarchy, that it has a genuine purpose and that it has a future. They recognize that it has to modernize and that there will be changes in the future when the Queen’s reign comes to an end.”

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles in the funeral procession on September 6, 1997. Photo: Getty

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

After Harry started dating ex Suits actress and influencer Meghan Markle in 2017, they were never meant to stay in Britain.

They resigned from their official duties in 2020 after a two-year stint as married royals, moving to the US to escape the apparent lack of support from the monarchy.

They have two children, Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, and live in a $14 million estate in Montecito, California, where they live a very different lifestyle that includes Spotify and Netflix deals worth $175 million.

Reflecting on walking behind Diana’s coffin, Prince Harry said in 2017 that “no child should be asked to do that”, but later admitted he was “so glad to be a part of it”.

Harry has a fractured relationship with William, which many royal commentators say is irreconcilable. He supports many of Diana’s charities and humanitarian causes, including AIDS/HIV.

Royal commentators have said how devastated Diana would have been.

“I highly doubt they will reconcile,” Diana biographer Andrew Morton was quoted as saying. marie claire magazine in August.

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“There are many illusions about this. The closest parallel is George VI and Edward VIII. George VI adored his brother, as Harry adored William.

“They were inseparable. But then she abdicated, moved abroad, and the relationship was never the same. William and Harry are in a similar situation.”

Prince Charles married his longtime mistress, Camilla. Photo: Getty

Charles, Prince of Wales

There was a public backlash after Diana’s death towards Charles, and it was many years before he was accepted back into the hearts of the British people.

Charles eventually sought the Queen’s approval to resume his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. They married in 2005 and she became the Duchess of Cornwall.

It took a decade for his popularity to rise and, in the latest polls, 48 ​​per cent of Britons believe he will do a good job once he becomes king.

Camilla has gone from horrible stepmother to queen consort when Charles assumes the throne.

earl spencer

After Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, delivered a moving eulogy, which resonated around the world, about her being the most persecuted woman on Earth, many hoped that he would carry on her legacy in some way.

As a great historian, he has done just that.

Princess Diana’s final resting place is in the grounds of Althorp Park in Northampton. Charles has been the custodian of the estate since the death of his father, John Spencer, in 1992.

She regularly shares updates about her beautiful grounds and history, including recent photos on her social media of supporters leaving floral tributes and door messages on the eve of Diana’s death.

“On behalf of his mother and sisters, I promise that we, his blood family, will do everything we can to continue the imaginative way in which he guided these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply submerged in duty and tradition. but she can openly sing like she planned,” she said in praise of him.

He continues to keep her spirit alive.

William greets Prince Philip at Diana’s funeral in 2007. Photo: Getty

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021)

“The British royal family almost lost its place in the heart of the nation,” states the film’s synopsis.

Prince Philip’s actions on the day of Diana’s funeral undoubtedly helped put a broken monarchy back on track.

Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9 last year, two months short of his 100th birthday.

He was the longest-serving royal consort in world history,

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