Twenty years ago when they stood in front of the gates of Kensington Palace as young boys, hearts broke at the sight of two young princes in pain as they struggled to come to terms with the enormity of their loss.
And today history repeated itself as William and Harry returned to their mother’s former home to view floral tributes to the late Princess Diana ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death in a Paris car crash on August 31 1997.
Two decades ago, William, 15, and Harry, 11, were dressed in the sombre dark suits, ties and smart shoes, while today both opted for a much more casual look.
Their relaxed chinos, suede boots and open-neck shirts were in stark contrast to their mourning garb of 20 years earlier as they took a few minutes to read the cards and banners attached to the gates of the palace.
The Duke talked his younger brother through the time they had visited in the week after Diana died and pointed out where the sea of 1997 tributes had stretched to, saying: ‘Last time, it was all the way down.’
Earlier, the princes were joined by the Duchess of Cambridge, for a tour of the White Garden, which has been planted in the Princess’s memory to mark two decades since she died.
During the engagement they met with representatives from eight charities closest to Diana’s heart, and the Princes were keen to learn more about how their mother made a difference.
‘Tell me a story about my mum,’ Prince Harry asked them, as he moved between groups.
English National Ballet director Tamara Rojo told them many popular productions were only staged because of the fundraising Princess Diana had done in her lifetime, adding: ‘That’s something we celebrate.’
William said: ‘We’ve got plenty of pictures. I remember her showing me ballet shoes she had been given [by ENB] and she was so proud of them. She loved dancing, she was a fantastic dancer.
‘We’ve been going through her music collection recently and there’s some quite eclectic stuff in there. She was elated by the skill.’
The Duchess said that Princess Charlotte is now learning to dance, adding: ‘She absolutely loves it.’