The brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, has claimed he was “lied to” about the desire of William and Harry to walk behind their mother’s coffin.
Earl Spencer says he raised objections with royal officials before being told her sons wanted to do it, adding he later realised this was not the case.
He has 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.
The earl said he believed the experience was a “million times worse” for Diana’s sons.
William, now the Duke of Cambridge, was 15 and Prince Harry 12 when their mother was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
Earl Spencer paid tribute to his sister at Westminster Abbey in 1997, in a highly personal speech that highlighted her difficulties with the media and the royal family.
He promised to care for William and Harry, with his reference to the Spencers as Diana’s “blood family” seen as deeply wounding to the Windsors.
The earl said he understood the Queen believed he had “every right to say whatever he felt”.
As the 20th anniversary of
Diana’s death nears, Earl Spencer told BBC radio it was a “very
bizarre and cruel thing” for Diana’s sons to be asked to walk behind her body.
Earl Spencer said his sister would not have wanted it and told officials of his objection, adding: “Eventually, I was lied to and told they wanted to do it, which of course they didn’t but I didn’t realise that.”
Earl Spencer described the feeling of walking behind Diana’s coffin as the “worst part of the day by a considerable margin”. PA