SARAH VINE: Compared to such spine-tingling majesty, that Oprah interview seems vulgar and vacuous

One of the most enduring images of Prince William and Prince Harry will always be the sight of them walking together behind their mother Diana’s coffin in 1997. On that occasion they were flanked on either side by their grandfather, Prince Philip, and their father, Prince Charles – with Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, in the middle.

The eyes of the nation were transfixed by those two young boys as they carried out their agonising duty. Harry in particular, then a diminutive 12-year-old, cut such a small and forlorn figure. It was in that moment – so vulnerable and yet so brave and steadfast – that he won a special place in our hearts.

Over two decades on, and once again the brothers yesterday found themselves side by side in grief. Only this time, of course, there was no wise Duke of Edinburgh at their elbow. And the man who walked between them, Peter Phillips, was not there to provide moral support to two grief-stricken brothers, but to keep Diana’s feuding sons, once so close, firmly apart.

Prince William and Prince Harry, once inseparable, now at loggerheads. Strip away the titles and it could almost be an EastEnders storyline: Grant and Phil Mitchell (‘hold me back, Sharon!’), Cain and Abel – it’s the eternal struggle, just a different script

The death of Prince Philip is a great sadness at a time of even greater sadness for so many. Yesterday’s service at St George’s Chapel exemplified the spirit of the late Duke: sublime in its spartan simplicity, nimble and faultless in its execution, elegant and dignified and – for a grand State occasion – incredibly poignant and personal

The death of Prince Philip is a great sadness at a time of even greater sadness for so many. Yesterday’s service at St George’s Chapel exemplified the spirit of the late Duke: sublime in its spartan simplicity, nimble and faultless in its execution, elegant and dignified and – for a grand State occasion – incredibly poignant and personal

The whole family has been rocked by that interview, not least because since it was broadcast so much of what was said seems to have unravelled, including Meghan’s assertion that the Archbishop of Canterbury married them three days before the official wedding in their ‘back yard’

The whole family has been rocked by that interview, not least because since it was broadcast so much of what was said seems to have unravelled, including Meghan’s assertion that the Archbishop of Canterbury married them three days before the official wedding in their ‘back yard’

The death of Prince Philip is a great sadness at a time of even greater sadness for so many. Yesterday’s service at St George’s Chapel exemplified the spirit of the late Duke: sublime in its spartan simplicity, nimble and faultless in its execution, elegant and dignified and – for a grand State occasion – incredibly poignant and personal.

The enormity of the Queen’s loss was brought into sharp focus by the stark circumstances, dictated by Covid, that saw her sitting utterly alone in front of her husband’s coffin. She looked so small and so bleak, more like a little Italian widow than a Monarch, a great Queen who has outlived and outlasted them all. And in her moment of grief was reflected the experience of countless of her subjects, far too many of whom have had to say their farewells to loved ones in similarly solitary circumstances.

And yet, for all that yesterday’s service paid tribute to their long marriage and to the Duke’s ‘resolute faith and loyalty’ and ‘life of service’, for all that it was a reminder of the stirring power of faith and the pomp and majesty of the Monarchy, all set beneath a glorious blue April sky, the eye could not help being distracted, once again, by the those two brothers walking, once again, behind a coffin.

Prince Harry was sat directly across from his older brother and his wife Kate having flown in without his wife Meghan

Prince Harry was sat directly across from his older brother and his wife Kate having flown in without his wife Meghan

The Queen stands alone as she watches Prince Philip's coffin being carried by soldiers on its final journey into St George's Chapel, Windsor today for the funeral of her beloved husband

The Queen stands alone as she watches Prince Philip’s coffin being carried by soldiers on its final journey into St George’s Chapel, Windsor today for the funeral of her beloved husband

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge look towards Philip's coffin before it was lowered into the Royal Vault

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge look towards Philip’s coffin before it was lowered into the Royal Vault

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones, Peter Phillips, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence prepare to set off from the castle behind the coffin

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones, Peter Phillips, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence prepare to set off from the castle behind the coffin

The Queen's  Bentley followed the coffin from the castle to the church, behind the Land Rover and her family marching together

The Queen’s  Bentley followed the coffin from the castle to the church, behind the Land Rover and her family marching together

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the extraordinary life of the Duke of Edinburgh

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the extraordinary life of the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince William and Prince Harry, once inseparable, now at loggerheads. Strip away the titles and it could almost be an EastEnders storyline: Grant and Phil Mitchell (‘hold me back, Sharon!’), Cain and Abel – it’s the eternal struggle, just a different script.

Because let’s not forget: it was barely a few weeks ago that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex sat down in front of Oprah Winfrey and fed the Royal Family through a shredder. Even as Prince Philip was nearing the end – and they must have known it – they had no qualms about lobbing the most egregious accusations of racism and bullying over the pond, fuelling every absurd conspiracy theory under the sun and painting themselves, and Meghan in particular, as innocent victims of a vicious and ruthless regime. It was heartless and cruel, and calculated to wound. Which it did. Most notable was Meghan’s claim that the Duchess of Cambridge made her cry over the bridesmaid dresses for her wedding, and that a member of the family had made racist comments about the colour of Archie’s skin.

The whole family has been rocked by that interview, not least because since it was broadcast so much of what was said seems to have unravelled, including Meghan’s assertion that the Archbishop of Canterbury married them three days before the official wedding in their ‘back yard’ (I wonder whether that little embarrassment was mentioned after the service over the cucumber sandwiches).

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