Prince Philip funeral: Aides admit to ‘walking on eggshells’ around feuding William and Harry

Royal aides are ‘walking on eggshells’ as they try to navigate the rift between William and Harry, sources say.

It emerged on Thursday that the princes would not stand shoulder to shoulder behind their grandfather’s coffin. Instead, they will be either side of their cousin, Peter Phillips.

Insiders stressed that the arrangement should not be taken as a sign that the brothers refused to walk alongside each other.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘This is a funeral… we will not be drawn into those perceptions of drama. The arrangements have been agreed and they reflect Her Majesty’s wishes.’

Sources did admit, however, that the fraternal feud has taken up ‘much thought and energy’ in the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, which is responsible for today’s arrangements. 

Royal aides are ‘walking on eggshells’ as they try to navigate the rift between William and Harry, sources say. Pictured: Princes William and Harry in 2017 as they leave a commemorative ceremony at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial

It emerged on Thursday that the princes (pictured together in 2020) would not stand shoulder to shoulder behind their grandfather’s coffin. Instead, they will be either side of their cousin, Peter Phillips

It emerged on Thursday that the princes (pictured together in 2020) would not stand shoulder to shoulder behind their grandfather’s coffin. Instead, they will be either side of their cousin, Peter Phillips 

Insiders stressed that the arrangement should not be taken as a sign that the brothers refused to walk alongside each other. Pictured: Troops leave Windsor Castle after a rehearsal for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral

Insiders stressed that the arrangement should not be taken as a sign that the brothers refused to walk alongside each other. Pictured: Troops leave Windsor Castle after a rehearsal for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral

Police step up presence in Windsor 

Though the funeral will be a scaled-back affair with just 30 mourners, police will take no chances protecting the senior royals in attendance.

There have been increased patrols from armed officers and mounted police in the area, while specialist teams and sniffer dogs searched phone boxes, bins and drains.

Increased checks will be carried out using automatic number plate recognition technology, which flags any suspicious cars that can be stopped and searched.

Checks on heavy vehicles are also being carried out, including inspection of the loads and the drivers’ licences.

Anti-terror hostile vehicle mitigation barriers designed to thwart threats similar to the London Bridge terror attack of 2017 are permanently installed around the town.

The public has been warned to keep away from the event and a ring of steel will form around Windsor Castle today. Thames Valley officers will be joined by the elite SO14 Royalty Protection Group arm of the Met Police.

Each senior royal has their own personal protection officers, who in turn will have contingency capacity nearby. It is also understood that undercover police will patrol the streets near the castle.

Former head of Royalty Protection Dai Davies said: ‘The Royal Household and the Metropolitan Police have a lot of experience in planning these things and you need to prepare for every eventuality.’

‘Everyone is walking on eggshells so as not to exacerbate the situation,’ said one. 

‘To be fair, both William and Harry have made clear that they wish to focus on mourning their grandfather and do not want anything to get in the way of that.

‘But it has made everyone doubly nervous about saying anything that could be remotely construed of being critical of the other side. It’s been a minefield.’

Sources insist the formation of those walking behind the coffin was based on ‘bloodlines and age’. 

The group will be led by the duke’s two elder children, with the Prince of Wales, 72, on the right and the Princess Royal, 70, on the left.

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