Given his traumatic childhood, his endless gaffes, and his unusual hobbies (such as tracking UFOs, according to Page Six), the Duke of Edinburgh was clearly a complicated man. He was also a compassionate one at times, judging by stories his family tells about him. Although he seemingly judged his grandson, Prince Harry, for stepping away from the monarchy and sitting down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey alongside his wife, Meghan Markle, it’s clear now that Prince Philip may have even had complicated feelings around that situation, too. Especially considering how much he helped Princess Diana assimilate into the family when she first married Prince Charles and in the wake of her divorce from him.
Sure, his relationships with his sons and other members of the royal family might have been strained at one time or another throughout his life. But, when it comes to Prince Harry and Prince William, there was a definite soft spot in Prince Philip’s heart. And that’s precisely why he attended their mother’s funeral the way he did.
Prince Philip knew how Prince William and Prince Harry felt
According to the Evening Standard, there was some conversation about how Princess Diana’s sons, Prince Harry and Prince William would be involved in the funeral procession for their mother. Having lost his mother, too, at a young age, Prince Philip was very concerned about the boys’ emotional well being at the time. A former government relations director told the UK’s Evening Standard, that the duke chimed in on the conference call. “We hadn’t heard from him before, but he was really anguished. ‘It’s about the boys. They’ve lost their mother,'” Prince Philip reportedly said.
The boys, along with their father, were supposed to walk in the procession and their grandfather promised them that if they were going walk, he would be right there beside them for the whole ride. The result is a now iconic picture of the duke, Prince Charles, Diana’s brother Earl Spencer, and Prince William, 15 years old, and Prince Harry, 12 years old, walking behind their mother’s coffin on the way to Westminster Abbey. Philip was reportedly close to Diana, sitting next to her at state dinners, and even writing her letters offering his help throughout the divorce process, per People. However, Diana had mixed views on the man, saying in an interview that he was a great dinner guest, but a very judgmental father-in-law. Still, she would likely be pleased to know how he cared for her sons after her death.
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