WINDSOR, England – On a sunny but gloomy Saturday as Britain said goodbye to Prince Philip, the sight of his quarreling grandchildren briefly reuniting at the funeral made many smiles.
Princes William and Harry chatted outside St. George’s Chapel after the funeral. They used to go for walks with their cousin Peter Phillips between them in the procession behind Prince Philip’s coffin as he was taken in a Land Rover hearse to the historic chapel, which is on the grounds of the 11th century palace.
It was the first time Harry had been seen with the royal family since he and his wife Meghan made explosive allegations of racism and ill-treatment against his relatives in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last month. Even a former prime minister has weighed hopes of reconciliation between the two brothers who were once famous.
“It’s nice to see Harry and William together again – it’s what we all wanted,” said Martyn Rawlims, 66, from Kidderminster, Central England. “This will probably bring you closer, at some point something good always comes out of it.”
For many in the UK and around the world, the sight of William and Harry walking behind their grandfather’s coffin will mirror the image of the two as boys marching sadly behind their mother’s coffin, Prince Diana, in 1997.
Rawlims smoked a cigarette and looked over at Windsor Castle. When he remembered that day, tears came to his eyes.
“She’d just think, ‘Ah, that’s what brothers do,” Rawlims said of Diana. “Sometimes it’s a death that makes people come together and appreciate life more.”
Harry “had to go a bit to have some space and the best thing that happened to him after his mother’s death was Meghan,” said Rawlims.
Harry arrived in the UK earlier this week and went straight to Frogmore Cottage, his home on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where he was quarantined under coronavirus regulations prior to the funeral.
Elder brother William has not publicly commented on the allegations the couple made in the interview or Harry’s description of the pair’s relationship as “space” other than saying the royals were “next to no racist family”.
Sandy Lewin, a 55-year-old teacher who lives not far from Windsor Castle, said her husband served with Harry in Afghanistan and she came out about his fanfare wedding to Meghan.
“It’s very different because the last time we had something like this was the wedding, which was just magical,” she said. “Now it’s very low and gloomy.”
“We think Harry’s world,” said Lewin, who planted a single daffodil on Windsor Castle that she had plucked from her garden last week when Prince Philip died.
Lewin added that Harry is still held in high regard by many of the military. She said that while she was a fan of the TV show “Suits,” which Meghan Markle played on before marrying Harry, she disapproved of the Oprah interview.
Download the NBC News App for breaking news and politics
Harry and Meghan’s decision to distance themselves from the royal family polarized much of the country, and 55-year-old Jane Valder-Ryan, who was out with her Cockapoo dog “Woody”, clearly sided with it decided. It wasn’t Meghans.
“When the Duke of Sussex is here alone, he has more flexibility,” said Valder-Ryan.
“We all witnessed the crash in Paris,” she said, referring to a high-speed car accident in which Diana died and much of the UK was shocked and mourned.
The public felt “protected” by the princes, said Valder-Ryan. “We feel we grew up with them.”
Adela Suliman reported from Windsor; Corky Siemaszko reported from New York; and Henry Austin reported from London.