Prince William Tells Mourner That Walking Behind the Queen’s Coffin Reminded Him of Mother Princess Diana’s Funeral

The two events happened almost 25 years to the day apart.

Prince William, King Charles III, Prince Harry
(Image credit: Getty)

In a scene eerily reminiscent of one taking place nearly 25 years to the day prior, Prince William, Prince Harry, and now, King Charles III walked in a procession behind a coffin through the streets of London as mourners gathered around them.

The date this time? Wednesday, September 14, 2022, six days after the Queen’s death at 96. It seems simultaneously like a moment ago and a lifetime ago when that trio—plus Prince Philip, who died in 2021, and Charles Spencer, younger brother of Princess Diana—walked behind Diana’s coffin on September 6, 1997.

The coffin procession this week from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall reminded William of that awful walk for his mother a quarter-century ago, which he said in a 2017 BBC documentary “was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, that walk. It felt like she [Diana] was almost walking along beside us to get us through it.” That procession took the group of five from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey. Just as the Queen’s was, Diana’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard and crowned in white flowers, PEOPLE reports.

In 1997, William was just 15; he’s now 40 and a married father of three. While speaking to mourners for about 45 minutes at Sandringham House on Thursday, one attendee says William spoke of “how difficult it was yesterday, and how it reminded him of his mum’s funeral,” says mourner Jane Wells, per The Telegraph. “Catherine said it’s just been such a difficult time for all of them, for the whole family.”

At that same walkabout in Sandringham, a mourner told William she was near tears.

“Don’t cry now,” the future king told her, according to The Telegraph. “You’ll start me.”

Mourner Sharon Clouting says of her encounter with the newly minted Prince of Wales “you can tell William is his mother’s son. He was chatting so easily and very sincere.”

Bex Neeve says “William said he thinks Monday will be hard,” referring to the Queen’s funeral that day. “Kate said it’s been overwhelming, and she and William are very grateful for everyone being here. She was emotional. They seemed like they were here to soak up all the love.”

William will take part in more processions Monday, three to be exact: as the Queen's coffin moves from Westminster Hall into Westminster Abbey; a one-and-a-half-mile procession across London to the Wellington Arch; and, finally, to Windsor Castle, where Her Majesty will be laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel.

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.