A new documentary aired this week sheds light on the way the late Duke of Edinburgh comforted Prince William during Princess Diana’s funeral, 24 years ago.
Philip: Prince, husband, father, which is scheduled to air at 9pm on ITV on Tuesday, gives an intimate glimpse into life as the Queen’s husband, from colorful clips of the couple as newlyweds to the more serious moments of his life.
The Duke walked with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry behind Princess Diana’s coffin during her funeral on September 6, 1997, when the royals were just 15 and 12 years old.
Speaking in the documentary, Martin Palmer, who co-founded the Faith and Conservation Alliance with Prince Philip, said the late Duke of Edinburgh comfortably comforted his grandson William by touching his back when he thought no one could see them.
He explained that Prince Philip was keen to make sure the Duke of Cambridge, 39, and the Duke of Sussex, 37, did not grow up in a “dysfunctional” family, the Telegraph reported.
A new ITV documentary reveals how the Duke of Edinburgh, left, comforted Prince William, second from left, during Princess Diana’s funeral on September 6, 1997, when no one was looking (pictured with Earl Spencer, Prince Harry, 12 and Prince Charles)
“There is a moment when they go under the arch of the parade horses where it is quite evident that Prince Philip—and I asked him about this he said, ‘Yes, I didn’t think the cameras could see us’—at that point he turned to William and consoled him,” Martin said.
“You just have to watch that moment and realize that there is a grandfather trying to help his very weak little grandson in the struggle during this terrible moment,” he added.
“He knew what it meant to be a member of a dysfunctional family, and he did his best to make sure that didn’t happen to his grandchildren,” he added.
Martin added that the Duke of Edinburgh’s idea was not for the boys to walk behind their mother’s coffin.
Prince Philip offered anxious behind Diana’s coffin to support his afflicted grandchildren (pictured on the day of the funeral with Prince William)
Prince Philip, who said the funeral was about the boys, offered to walk with them to support them.
His biographer, Giles Brandreth, said the Duke was not supposed to be involved, but did so as an act of kindness to Grandfather.
The two princes were supposed to walk behind Diana’s hearing with their father, the Prince of Wales, and their uncle, Earl Spencer.
Royal writer Ingrid Seward said William was reluctant to take part in the march at first, but Philip was reported to have said, ‘I’ll walk if I walk’, The Sun reported in April.
At first, William flatly refused [to walk during the funeral]. Charles begged him and said that it would be quite wrong not to accompany them.
Prince Philip took the argument and William eventually agreed to participate – but only on the condition that his grandfather walk by his side.
She added: “Philip reportedly said: ‘It’s about the boys. They lost their mother.”
In the 2017 BBC documentary Diana: Seven Days, Prince William and Prince Harry reflect on their mother’s funeral.
Harry and William with their grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh on October 31, 2015 during the Rugby World Cup Final in London
William recounted how he struggled to find “the balance between being Prince William and having to do my part, versus Private William who just wanted to go into a room and cry because he had lost his mother”.
Harry, who later said that no child should be asked to walk behind his mother’s coffin, said in 2017: “Overall, I have no opinion on whether this is true or false. I’m glad I was a part of it. Looking back now, I’m so glad I was a part of it.
The Duke of Edinburgh also rose to appease the princes after the death of their mothers.
Tina Brown, who wrote The Diana Chronicles in 2011, said he offered them “rude tenderness and outdoor activities like stalking and hiking to tire them out.”
In April, Prince Harry and Prince William walked behind the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh with their cousin Peter Phillips after he died in his sleep on April 9.
Philip: Prince, husband, father broadcasts at 9pm on ITV on Tuesdays.