No eye contact, no warmth: William and Harry keep apart at Queen’s funeral | Queen Elizabeth II

There was no eye contact or acknowledgment between Prince William and Prince Harry as they walked behind the Queen’s coffin. Nor indeed, it appeared, as the two princes were joined by their wives, Kate and Meghan, in Westminster Abbey.

Harry, wearing a morning suit on which his medals were pinned rather than military uniform, the traditional dress permitted of working members of the royal family at ceremonial events, kept his gaze focused ahead during the procession from Westminster Hall to the abbey and later at Windsor Castle.

Walking behind King Charles III, the Princess Royal, Prince Edward and the Duke of York, who had also stood out in a morning suit, the brothers were at least side by side, rather than being buffered by their cousin, Peter Phillips, as had was the case at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh last April.

Prince William and Prince Harry follow the Queen’s coffin through London. Photograph: Laurent Vu/SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

But those looking for any hint of a thawing of the froideur that has marked relations since Harry, 38, left the UK to build a new life in California, casting out criticism of his family as he did, were to be disappointed.

Studiously, the two men and their spouses avoided any interaction. Their eyes never met, physically a safe distance was always kept.

As the coffin was taken into the abbey, Harry and Andrew, who also stepped back from public life after his interview on the BBC’s Newsnight about his friendship with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, looked at the ground as other members of the family in military uniform saluted .

Queen’s coffin leaves Westminster Abbey followed by the royal family – video

Inside, Harry and Meghan took their seats at the head of the congregation directly behind King Charles and the Queen Consort, Camilla.

There was the occasional reassuring glance between the Sussexes. Earlier they briefly held hands.

Prince Harry stands behind King Charles as Prince William stands in the front row.
Prince Harry stands behind King Charles as Prince William stands in the front row. Photograph: WPA/Rex/Shutterstock

But, perhaps in response to the peculiar criticism they have received for previous shows of affection at events commemorating the late Queen, there was remarkably little physical contact.

The Duchess of Sussex, wearing a pair of pearl and diamond studs given to her by the Queen, which she had worn on her first joint engagement with her in June 2018, when they marked the opening of a new bridge in Cheshire, was visibly emotional at times.

With a gloved hand, she dabbed a solitary tear from her cheek as the Queen’s coffin left the abbey.

Meghan, 41, had not followed the tradition of female members of the royal family wearing a black lace “mourning veil” but the same could be said for Princess Beatrice, the Countess of Wessex and her daughter, Lady Louise Windsor. She instead wore a black cape and dress designed by Stella McCartney and a wide-brimmed hat.

Prince Harry and Meghan walk behind the Queen’s coffin with the royal family – video

On arrival at St George’s chapel for the service of commitment, William, Kate and their children waited at the head of the front pew to allow Harry and Meghan to pass by, before taking their own places. Again, there was no touch or nod to acknowledge a shared moment. Princess Charlotte sat between Harry and her mother.

Every effort was being made, it seemed, to avoid distracting from the state funeral and the Queen’s burial in the royal vault below St George’s Chapel alongside her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. But a rapprochement between the brothers seemed far away. The task of rebuilding relations is no doubt not made any easier by the rescinding of an invitation to the Sussexes to a reception attended by world leaders on the eve of the funeral.

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lowered into the royal vault at Windsor: key moments – video

Meanwhile, Harry’s “intimate and heartfelt” memoirs are to come while Meghan has said the couple are working on a “historical documentary” through which she will share their “love story”.

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