Prince William greeted mourners in Sandringham earlier this week, stopping to share a moment of grief with those who'd gathered to pay their respects. During the appearance, the future King referenced the tragic 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana, and told mourners that walking behind the Queen's coffin "brought back memories".
Opening up about walking side-by-side with Prince Harry during Wednesday’s poignant procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, the newly-appointed Prince of Wales said the experience had been "challenging". The scene stirred up difficult emotions amongst royal fans, with many drawing a comparison between seeing the brothers walking behind Her Majesty's funeral as they had walked behind their mother's in 1997.
"Just watching them walk behind the Queen's coffin brought back memories of them doing it at Diana's funeral, so I cannot begin to imagine how hard it was for William and Harry themselves," one person wrote on Twitter, as someone else described it as a "heart-rending reminder of the funeral of Princess Diana 25 years ago."
"It’s one of these moments where you kind of think to yourself 'I’ve prepared myself for this', but I’m not that prepared," Prince William told the crowd at Sandringham of the events that have followed Her Majesty's death. "It’s this weird kind of thing, because we knew she was 96."
According to one onlooker, the future King went into detail about the heartbreaking emotions that the Queen's death had conjured up. "He told us how difficult it was yesterday, how it brought back memories of walking behind his mother’s coffin," said Caroline Barwick-Walters from Neath in Wales.
"Thank you for sharing your grief with the nation," she told him, to which he replied: "She was everybody’s grandmother."
Last weekend, Prince William penned an emotional tribute to his grandmother, writing: "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 went on, "She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. I knew this day would come, but it will be some time before the reality of life without Grannie will truly feel real."
The now first-in-line to the throne continued: "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."
Our thoughts remain with the Royal Family and all those mourning Her Majesty at this difficult time.
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