Princess Diana's brother Earl Spencer has said he was "lied to" about Prince William and Prince Harry wanting to walk behind their mother's coffin at her funeral in 1997. William was 15 at the time, and Harry was just 12. Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, Earl Spencer revealed: "I was lied to and told that they wanted to do it, which of course they didn't, but I didn't realise that. It was the worst part of the day by a considerable margin, walking behind my sister's body with two boys who were obviously massively grieving their mother.
"It was a sort of bizarre circumstance where we were told you just have to look straight ahead. But the feeling, the sort of absolute crashing tidal wave of grief coming at you as you went down this sort of tunnel of deep emotion, it was really harrowing actually and I still have nightmares about it now."
Earl Spencer said it was a "bizarre and cruel thing" for the Princes to do
Earl Spencer, Diana's younger brother, added that it was a "bizarre and cruel thing" for the Princes to do and the funeral procession was "the most horrifying half an hour of my life". Prince Harry, 32, has previously spoken about that tragic day, saying no child "should be asked to do that".
In the radio interview conducted ahead of Diana's 20th death anniversary, Earl Spencer also reflected on his eulogy, which he read to his sister's body a few days before she was buried at their family home, Althorp estate. Earl Spencer defended his speech, saying he wasn't "looking to make any jabs at anyone" including the royal family. "I don't feel I said many pointed things," he said. "I believe that every word I said was true and it was important for me to be honest. I was trying to celebrate Diana and if by doing that it showed up particularly the press I think in a bad way, well, they had that coming."
Don't miss HELLO!'s ultimate souvenir edition celebrating the Queen of Hearts, on sale now. Look back at her life through 148 pages of beautiful images and revealing interviews with those who knew Diana best. Her fashion, her inspirational charity work and love for the sons who now carry her flame forward — it's all there in this unmissable HELLO! special.