Prince Charles Forbid His Sons to Show Emotion at Princess Diana’s Funeral, Said ‘Don’t Cry,’ Just ‘Walk’

Anyone who’s been following the royal family for any length of time knows that things weren’t handled well after Princess Diana’s sudden and tragic death. Family members have been criticized for years not only for their treatment of the Princess of Wales while she was alive, but also for the immediate aftermath of her passing and her funeral.

One of the biggest mistakes the royal family made was forcing Diana’s young sons Prince William and Prince Harry to show their grieving faces to millions during Princess Diana’s funeral procession. Both William and Harry have spoken out against the practice, claiming the cruel treatment of young children would never happen in today’s day and age.

Princess Diana funeral
Princess Diana funeral | Anwar Hussein/WireImage

No one could believe Princess Diana had died

The world was shocked to learn of the loss of the stunning, vibrant, 36-year-old Princess Diana. The royal family was spending the summer at Balmoral when the call came through, and one royal biographer stated that Her Majesty reacted with “dazed bewilderment” when she heard the news.

Since the call came in the middle of the night, the queen decided not to wake the boys to tell them the terrible news. Pop Sugar reported that she had her staff remove all televisions and radios so the young princes wouldn’t find out about their mother’s death by accident.

Later, Prince William defended his grandmother’s so-called “cold” appearance when she was photographed with them the next morning. He said, “At the time, you know, my grandmother wanted to protect her two grandsons, and my father as well.”

Diana’s funeral was an emotional time for everyone

Princess Diana funeral
Princess Diana funeral | Jeff J. Mitchell/AFP via Getty Images

Even though 15-year-old William and 12-year-old Harry were mourning the loss of their mother, they were still expected to behave as proper royal gentlemen even on one of the worst days of their lives. That’s where the whole phrase “stiff upper lip” comes into play.

The boys had remarkable composure while walking behind their mother’s coffin down Hyde Street as part of the funeral procession. But apparently that was all thanks to their father’s stern warning, when he allegedly told a sobbing Harry, “You don’t cry, you walk.”

People couldn’t believe how Prince William and Prince Harry didn’t cry

Former royal press secretary Dick Arbiter explained it this way, according to Express: “There’s an old saying in royal circles, don’t wear prairie grief on a public sleeve. And they didn’t.”

He continued, saying: “You’re probably screaming inside and hurting inside, but they carried that off with such dignity that people even today don’t understand how they did it.”

Princess Diana funeral
Princess Diana funeral | PA Images via Getty Images

They still haven’t cried much over their mother’s death

The lessons Prince William and Prince Harry learned in childhood have apparently stuck with them through the years because both admitted that the grief process has been slow and painful. Prince Harry, who suffered the loss of his mother so acutely, said he rarely cries thinking about it.

“The first time I cried was at the funeral on the island,” he said in an interview. “And only since then maybe once.”

He continued, saying, “I think it was a classic case of don’t let yourself think about your mum and the grief and the hurt that comes with it, because it’s never going to bring her back and it’s only going to make you more sad. People deal with grief in different ways and my way of dealing with it was by just basically shutting it out, locking it out.”

With all this in mind, it makes perfect sense that both royals are so intent on removing the stigma from mental health. Decades later the brothers have finally begun to come to terms with the difficult days following their mother’s death.

Both Prince William and Prince Harry honor their mother every year on the anniversary of the tragic event.