PRINCE William and Harry not standing shoulder-to-shoulder at Prince Philip’s funeral shows a “really deep rift”, a royal expert says.
Buckingham Palace revealed yesterday the warring brothers would be separated by their cousin Peter Phillips at the request of the Queen.
Read our Prince Philip funeral live blog for the latest updates
Due to Covid social-distancing rules, this means they will end up four metres apart during the eight-minute procession on Saturday.
And they will be separated for a second time as they head into St George’s Chapel for the service – with William walking ahead.
Royal expert Jennie Bond claims the decision to separate the pair is a “sad, lost opportunity” for their relationship to be repaired.
She told Good Morning Britain: “Everyone’s hopes were pinned on the fact a funeral like this would focus their mind and bring them closer together and maybe it will.
“But by not walking together it makes everyone think ‘this is going to take some time, this is a really deep rift’.”
Speaking on Sky News, she added: “They all know that by not walking side-by-side, whatever the significance of that truly is, they must all know it’s going to draw speculation that the rift between them is very, very far from mended.
“My question is why not walk side-by-side?”
The former royal correspondent also spoke out about royals not wearing military uniforms at the duke’s funeral.
They will instead wear morning coat with medals or day dress after fears Prince Harry would be the only male senior royal dressed differently.
There was also said to be “serious Navy displeasure” at being dragged into a row over Prince Andrew possibly wearing an admiral’s uniform.
Jenni said: “You have to feel sorry for the queen managing the sensibilities and the sensitives of her family, not only over whether the boys should walk side-by-side, but also who should wear uniform.
“Andrew wanting to wear Admiral uniform to which he’s not entitled, and Harry who would be embarrassed by not being able to a military uniform.
“She’s had to think of all things, when honestly the poor lady nearly 95 and just widowed, should not have to think about these things in my opinion.”
Buckingham Palace confirmed the final details of Philip’s funeral yesterday but said they would not be “drawn into perceptions and drama”.
The event will be different to any other royal funeral after Covid made the family strip back all tradition.
Just 30 mourners will be in attendance to honour Britain’s longest-serving consort.
Under Covid rules, all those entering the chapel will wear a face mask and all members of the Royal Family will be seated two metres apart.
The official seating plan will be released on Saturday so it is not yet sure whether the Queen will have someone from her HMS Bubble comforting her.
All eyes will be on warring Harry and Wills, who will come face-to-face for the first time since the former left the UK for a new life in California.
The once-close pair have not been seen together at a public engagement since March last year as tensions bubbled over.
It would also be the first time they have seen each other in person since Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In the tell-all chat, Harry sensationally claimed his brother was “trapped” in the royal family.
The couple also made a damning accusation an unnamed member of the Royal Family had made a racist comment about the colour of son Archie’s skin.
In the days after the interview aired in the UK, Prince William was forced into the unprecedented position of saying the royals “are very much not a racist family”.
But there are hopes the brothers will have a chance to get past their differences before Harry returns to pregnant Meghan in America.
And she has reportedly encouraged her husband and his family to “put their differences aside”.
He dropped everything and rushed back to the UK after Philip’s tragic death on Friday aged 99.
Harry is now self-isolating at his previous martial home Frogmore Cottage after making the 5,400-mile trip from the US on Sunday.
Since returning, Harry has reportedly made contact with Charles, William, Beatrice and Eugenie.
The royal is said to want to “park any disputes” before the funeral.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: “The arrangements have been agreed and represent Her Majesty’s wishes.
“All of the arrangements have been signed off by Her Majesty.
“All the arrangements are being done to meet with the Duke’s wishes and Her Majesty making the final decision.”