Prince William and Harry Recall Funeral Walk Behind Princess Diana’s Coffin

Princes William and Harry lost their mother, Princess Diana, 20 years ago, and the young royals, aged 15 and 12 at the time, respectively, honored the late princess by walking behind her coffin at her funeral. In a new BBC documentary, Diana, 7 Days, the royals opened up about the moment, with William calling the walk "one of the hardest things" he's ever done.

"It wasn’t an easy decision, and it was a collective family decision to do that,” William said in the documentary, via Us Weekly. "It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But we were overwhelmed by how many people turned out, it was just incredible. There was that balance between duty and family and that’s what we had to do.”

The princes walked alongside their father, Prince Charles, their grandfather, Prince Philip, and their uncle Earl Spencer, with Harry noting that the walk was a group decision.

“I think it was a group decision," he explained. "But before I knew it, I found myself with a suit on with a black tie and a white shirt, I think, and I was part of it. Genuinely, I don’t have an opinion on whether that was right or wrong. I am glad I was part of it. Looking back on it now, I am very glad I was part of it.”

William called the walk "long and lonely."

"Both our parents brought us up to understand that there is this element of duty, and responsibility that you have to do things you don’t want to do,” he said. "When it becomes that personal, walking behind your mother’s funeral cortege, it goes to another level of duty. But I just kept thinking about what she would want and that she’d be proud of Harry and I, and effectively she was there with us. It felt like she was walking alongside us to get us through it.”

The father of two added that he initially didn't understand the public's reaction to his mother's death.

“I couldn’t understand why everyone wanted to cry as loud as they did and show such emotion as they did, when they didn’t really know our mother," he explained. "I did feel a bit protective at times — I thought you didn’t even know her, why and how are you so upset? Now, looking back, I’ve learned to understand what it was that she gave the world, what she gave a lot of people."

Photo Credit: Getty / Anwar Hussein