King Charles’ decision to make Prince William and Prince Harry walk behind Princess Diana’s coffin ‘haunts him, as it haunts them’, claims royal expert

The King reportedly has “deep regrets” concerning the event

Princess Diana's funeral
(Image credit: Anwar Hussein/Getty Images/Future)

The author of a new royal book detailing the life of King Charles III has claimed that the king has deep regrets about forcing his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, to walk behind their mother, Princess Diana's coffin during her funeral procession

Prince Harry’s much-anticipated memoir, Spare, which is set for release on January the 10th, 2023, is rumoured to begin with the retelling of the most poignant and heartbreaking scene any royal fan, or simply any British citizen, can remember. 

According to the book's publisher, Spare's opening pages will follow Princes William, then aged 15, and Harry, aged only 12, as they solemnly follow the coffin of their beloved mother, Princess Diana, as it made the journey to Westminster Abbey, where her funeral was held on September the 6th, 1997.

Publisher Penguin Random House says readers will be taken “back to one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow - and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling - and how their lives would play out from that point on. For Harry, this is his story, at last.” 

Princess Diana's funeral

(Image credit: David Levenson/Getty Images)

Alongside the young princes was their father, the then Prince Charles, their grandfather Prince Philip, and Princess Diana's younger brother, Earl Charles Spencer. The Princess had died just one week prior, on August 31, 1997, in a Parisian car crash, but it was not just her death that impacted her two young sons, but what followed that has wounded the brothers so deeply.

Christopher Andersen, author of the book The King: The Life of King Charles III, which will be available to buy from the 8th of December via Amazon, says the king has deep regrets over forcing his young sons to walk behind the coffin and said about the decision, “I think it haunts him, as it haunts them.”

“[William and Harry have] spoken about it. I’ve written that, I believe, it’s a form of PTSD. Harry uses terms like the triggering of even flying into London, and it reminds him of that day when he had to walk behind the coffin," Andersen told the hosts of the Royally Us podcast. 

Prince William, Prince Harry and King Charles

(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

He added, "They were, more or less, bullied into doing it by the Palace, by the men in grey who really run the Palace, [who] Diana used to complain about.”

According to Andersen, the king “understands that, to some extent, he is responsible for [William and Harry] having to suffer through," though he was not the only family member ensuring the boys followed through with the procession. Andersen also noted that Earl Spencer, Diana's brother and the Prince's uncle, holds much regret for his part in convincing William and Harry to walk behind the coffin.

Prince Harry's memoir, Spare, will be released on the 10th of January 2023.

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.