LONDON: Princes William and Harry and their wives Katherine and Megane – once dubbed the ‘Fabulous Four’ – walked together behind Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Monday, just as the royal brothers did 25 years ago for their mother, Princess Diana.
But with a tell-all memoir from Harry due out next year and behind-the-scenes wrangling over military uniforms and titles for his and Meghan’s children, the two couples have appeared as estranged as ever.
The brothers did their duty, walking side by side behind their father King CharlesIII and other senior members of the Royal Family when their grandmother’s coffin was carried to Westminster Abbey.
William wore a military uniform. Harry, who has been banned from doing so since giving up his life as a working royal, was dressed in a morning suit to which his medals were pinned.
As the coffin was carried into the abbey, Harry looked down as other family members in military uniform saluted.
William told mourners last week that walking behind his grandmother’s coffin when he was supposed to go to bed on Wednesday brought back memories of his mother’s funeral procession when he was 15.
But if this painful shared experience was in their minds, there was no outward acknowledgment of it.
At the entrance to the abbey, the siblings, once so close they could finish their sentences, were joined by their wives as well as William and Catherine’s two eldest children, Prince George, nine, and Princess Charlotte, seven.
Catherine, newly named Princess of Wales, like William’s mother Diana before her, wore a black ensemble with a wide-brimmed hat and her long hair styled in a low bun.
She added a three-string pearl choker and dangling earrings that were part of the Queen’s personal jewelery collection.
Meghan wore a black cape and dress and a wide-brimmed hat.
The four, who were seen as the future of the monarchy until their fall, made no eye contact as they made their way down the aisle behind the coffin and sat apart.
William and his family sat on a front pew alongside his father and siblings Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Harry and Meghan, known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were seated in the second row directly behind the King and Queen consort with his cousin Princess Beatrice.
There had been speculation Harry would be allowed to wear his uniform for the funeral after appearing dressed in the uniform of the Blues and Royals cavalry regiment he served in at a wake next to the coffin of the queen on Saturday night.
It seemed to be the last olive branch the king had extended to him and Meghan.
Harry has done two tours with the British Army in Afghanistan, but strict protocols reserve military dress on such occasions for working royals.
This has left Harry in a difficult position since stepping down from royal duties to move to North America in 2020.
In an interview with talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, Meghan accused a senior royal of being racist.
She also accused Kate of making her cry and palace officials of refusing to help her when she felt suicidal.
The icy relationship between the two couples is a far cry from the days when they were hailed as the “fab four” by the British media.
Two days after the Queen’s death, public hopes of ending the damaging rift were also raised when the two couples appeared for an impromptu walk outside Windsor Castle.
Sources, however, told the Daily Mail that so far there have been “no meaningful rapprochements”.

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