The Earl Spencer & Prince of Wales had a huge fight about Diana’s funeral

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When Princess Diana died in Paris on the last day of August in 1997, her sons were in Scotland, at the Queen’s summer home of Balmoral. They had been at Balmoral for weeks. When Prince Charles flew to Paris to bring home the body of his late ex-wife, he left his sons in the care of his family. Harry and William would stay at Balmoral for days, barely being seen in public, until Tony Blair finally convinced the Queen to return to London with Charles and the boys. One of the first things the Queen and Charles did when they returned to London was put Harry and William on display, greeting the mourners outside the palace. The boys looked shellshocked. But there was additional drama to come: the decision to have William and Harry walk behind their mother’s casket, on display, for the walk to Westminster Abbey.

Harry has spoken of his long-term pain of that, of being made to walk behind Diana’s casket, and he’s said outright that he should have never been made to do it. The story goes that Prince Philip was the one who convinced Harry & William to walk, but honestly, it never really sounded like the boys had much of a choice. Now Robert Lacey says, in his book Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult, that Diana’s brother, the Earl Spencer, was adamantly against his young nephews walking behind their mother’s casket.

Heir to the throne Prince Charles allegedly made “offensive” comments about his ex-wife, Princess Diana, to her brother days after her 1997 death, a new book claims. Historian Robert Lacey writes in “Battle of Brothers: The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult” that Charles made the remark to Diana’s brother, Charles, 9th Earl Spencer, as the ex-in-laws feuded over funeral arrangements. Apparently, Spencer objected to his nephews walking the entirety of a public funeral procession behind their mother’s casket.

“Prince Charles had no doubt that he should walk the long route with both his sons beside him,” Lacey wrote in excerpts obtained by People, “But Uncle Charles Spencer did not agree. He was already angry on his family’s behalf that his sister’s funeral had been hijacked into a royal occasion, and he was particularly opposed to the idea that his young nephews should have to walk the best part of a mile behind their mother’s coffin through the streets.”

“Spencer felt quite sure that Diana would have been horrified at the idea of her sons having to endure such an ordeal,” Lacey added. “He had already told Charles as much.” One contentions call between them “had ended with the earl slamming down the phone on his brother-in-law after Charles had made a particularly offensive comment about Diana.”

In the end, both William and Harry joined their father, Spencer and their grandfather Prince Philip for the lengthy procession. The service took place Sept. 6, 1997, six days after her death due to a car crash in Paris.

[From Page Six]

I have no doubt that the Earl Spencer and Prince of Wales fought about this and many other issues during that week. While it is probably just Labour propaganda, it felt like Tony Blair was the only one who really understood the tricky stagecraft around Diana’s death. Now, was the Earl Spencer right? Would Diana have been horrified? I don’t know. My guess is that was the comment Prince Charles made to his former brother-in-law, that Diana loved the attention and she wasn’t above using her sons as pawns, and it would make perfect sense in Diana’s worldview to put her sons on display even though they were grieving.

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