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Prince William said he was reminded of walking behind his mother Princess Diana’s coffin when he took part in the procession for Queen Elizabeth’s service at Westminster Hall. He called it “very difficult” as he recalled the experience from his mother’s funeral.

Prince William and Prince Harry walk behind Queen Elizabeth's coffin on the way to Westminster Hall
Prince William and Prince Harry | Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Prince William said walking in the queen’s procession reminded him of walking behind Princess Diana’s coffin

The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Sandringham to see tributes left for Queen Elizabeth and speak with some of the well-wishers who came to pay their respects.

William revealed that the procession for the queen’s service at Westminster Hall reminded him of walking behind his mother’s coffin. William and his brother Prince Harry walked side-by-side for the queen’s service, which was reminiscent of their formation while walking in their mother’s funeral procession in 1997.

Royal correspondent Richard Palmer tweeted: “Prince William told a woman sympathizing with him at Sandringham that the procession yesterday had been ‘very difficult’ and had reminded him of walking behind his mother’s coffin. He told another woman: ‘Don’t cry now, you’ll start me.'”

Sunday Times royal editor Roya Nikkhah tweeted, “The Prince of Wales has said walking in the #Queen’s cortège yesterday brought back memories of walking behind his mother’s coffin for Diana’s funeral procession in 1997 when William was 15, while viewing tributes to #QueenElizabethII in Sandringham with the Princess of Wales.”

Body language expert analyzed Prince William’s Sandringham appearance

Body language expert Judi James shared her analysis of William during his visit to Sandringham, noting that he exhibited “inner tension” and “feels powerless.”

James told The Sun that his “mirroring” gestures with Kate were revealing. “William and Kate have always used both conscious mirroring, signalling mutual respect and a very even-status relationship and subconscious mirroring, which shows their matching ideals and thinking even when they are out of each other’s view,” she explained.

William also placed a hand on his stomach while viewing the floral tributes. “Royals aren’t supposed to do body barrier rituals in public, which is why they rarely if ever cross their arms,” James said. “William does use a fig leaf gesture under pressure, with his hands clasped over his lower torso, but apart from that he tends to do a mimed or truncated barrier ritual like this hand on the stomach.”

She called one arm crossing the body “a self-protective ritual.”


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Expert said William had ‘inner tension’

William also appeared to possibly be picking his fingers, which is a “self-attack anxiety ritual,” according to the body language expert.

James noted, “It suggests inner tension but it can also signal feelings of powerlessness when being attacked, meaning you turn the attack on yourself in a small act of frustration.”

She added, “Which could fit if he’s suppressing grief for the queen.”

Showbiz Cheat Sheet acknowledges conditions and cultures can impact body language and is sensitive to all backgrounds.