It was perhaps the moment that would have made Prince Philip the most happy.
After a funeral service meticulously curated by the Duke himself, a touching interlude between two divided brothers became one of the most indelible images of the day.
Princes William and Harry yesterday appeared to signal at least a temporary thaw in the frosty relations between them as they chatted after the service. It was more than a year since they were last seen in public together.
Only weeks have passed since the devastating Oprah Winfrey interview, which was said to have left William ‘incandescent’ with rage. Despite this, he and Harry looked relaxed in each other’s company as they walked the short distance from St George’s Chapel back to Windsor Castle.
Prince Harry speaks to Prince William as they leave the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle this afternoon
The Duke of Sussex is seen speaking to the Duke of Cambridge today following the service at St George’s Chapel
It was the Duchess of Cambridge, ever the peacemaker, who smoothed the way for one of the most talked-about reconciliations in years.
As the Royals filed out of the chapel, Prince William spoke to the Right Reverend David Conner, the Dean of Windsor, while Harry chatted with Kate behind them.
Eschewing a waiting fleet of Rolls-Royces, the family then began to walk up the hill.
William was initially ahead of his wife and brother but turned back towards them to speak to Kate while Harry exchanged pleasantries with the Dean.
Harry then caught up with his brother and sister-in-law and they walked together for a while as William removed his face mask. Then, Kate delicately stepped away to speak to the Countess of Wessex and her daughter Lady Louise – leaving the brothers alone.
Kate, William and Harry speak together as they leave St George’s Chapel this afternoon following the funeral service
The apparent rapprochement was a welcome moment after a day of palpable tension. Earlier, the siblings had maintained stony expressions as they walked behind their grandfather’s cortege, separated by their cousin Peter Phillips.
The Duke of Cambridge strode ahead of his brother as they entered the 15th Century chapel, and once inside the atmosphere remained decidedly frosty.
William sat with Kate directly opposite Harry but did not appear to make eye contact, instead preferring to focus his gaze towards his grandfather’s coffin.
Sources told The Mail on Sunday that Harry has experienced ‘a great deal of frostiness’ from many of his relatives since arriving in Britain a week ago and self- isolating at Frogmore Cottage, the house given to him and Meghan as a wedding present by the Queen. ‘Ironically the only one who has expressed any sympathy towards him is Prince Andrew,’ said one source.
‘He knows from Sarah Ferguson – and now first-hand – how it feels to be the outsider, which Harry very much is.
‘As far as the others are concerned, there is a deep sense of protection towards the Queen and resentment towards Harry. There is little sympathy for him after what he and Meghan said on Oprah.’
Members of the Royal Family including Harry and William walk away from St George Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex accused the Royals of institutional racism during the bombshell 90-minute interview last month and claimed one member of the family – not the Queen or Prince Philip – questioned what colour their son Archie’s skin would be.
Princess Anne, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie failed to acknowledge Harry before or during yesterday’s service.
‘They are still very upset,’ the source added. ‘They are putting on a united front for the Queen. They all think he has behaved appallingly.’
However, it was reported last week that William had spoken briefly with his brother on the phone, although the source said communication had been ‘more texts than calls’.
Prince Harry appears to talk with Kate Middleton as they leave the service at St George’s Chapel this afternoon
Harry has spoken to his cousin Princess Eugenie who remains a steadfast friend. ‘He is thought to have seen Eugenie, most likely outside since she’s being strict with her new baby,’ said the insider. According to one report, William requested that Peter Phillips stand between him and Harry during the funeral cortege.
Asked about the claim, a friend of Harry said: ‘He’s just doing what he’s told and getting on with it.’
The last time the brothers were seen together in public was on March 9 last year when they attended a Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey – with the tension between the Cambridges and Sussexes clear to see.
Aides were yesterday reported to have ‘been walking on eggshells’ all week as the funeral plans were tweaked, but there was relief that the brothers have spoken and done so publicly.
Earlier: Prince William (centre) and Prince Harry (right) walked either side of their cousin Peter Phillips (left) at Windsor today
Plans for a wake at Windsor Castle are understood to have been dropped, although a source said that Prince Charles, who was clearly emotional before and during the service, intended to spend some time with his younger son, perhaps taking him for a walk.
‘There has been talk that Charles will walk around Windsor with Harry to look at some of the tributes and spend some time together,’ the source said.
However, Harry is understood to be anxious to return to America to be with Meghan, who is thought to be seven months pregnant with their second child.
He could fly back to Los Angeles as early as today or tomorrow.