Inside Charles Spencer's relationship with Prince William and Prince Harry: All the photos
Much is made of Prince William and Prince Harry’s place within the royal family as the sons of the King.
But the brothers also maintain a more private, but equally enduring, relationship with their mother's family, the Spencers.
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Both William and Harry remain close to their maternal aunts, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes, and also their maternal uncle, Charles Spencer, the younger brother of Princess Diana.
Charles's connection with the Princes was first evident when he was pictured walking alongside them behind their mother's coffin in 1997.
Charles joined the procession behind Princess Diana's coffim
He later said he had raised objections with royal officials before being told William and Harry wanted to do it, adding he soon realised this was not the case.
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Charles also described the feeling of walking behind Diana's coffin in the funeral cortege as the "most horrifying half hour of my life", acknowledging he still has nightmares about the "harrowing" event from 20 years ago.
He later condemned the decision to include the Princes
But, Charles said, he believed the experience was a "million times worse" for Diana's sons.
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In his eulogy at Princess Diana's funeral, Charles publicly promised to care for her two sons.
Pictured comforting Prince Harry
He said, in part: "I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned.
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"We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role. But we, like you, recognise the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know you would have expected nothing less from us.
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"William and Harry, we all cared desperately for you today. We are all chewed up with the sadness at the loss of a woman who was not even our mother. How great your suffering is, we cannot even imagine."
Charles joined the royal family at the unveiling of a fountain in Diana's honour
Since then, Charles has only been photographed in public with the Princes on a handful of occasions.
The trio famously reconciled in 2006 at the opening of a fountain built in Diana's memory in Hyde Park, and later in 2021 at the unveiling of a statue of the Princess in the sunken gardens at Buckingham Palace, on what would have been her 60th birthday.
With Prince Harry at the unveiling of Princess Diana's statue in 2021
Of course, Charles and his family were also in attendance at the brothers' weddings; when William married Kate Middleton in April 2011 and when Harry wed Meghan Markle in May 2018.
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