A shared grief as they saw the grandfather they adored laid to rest saw Princes William and Harry take the first steps towards reconciliation.
TV cameras captured the moment the brothers edged physically – and seemingly emotionally – closer after years of growing tension.
And it was the Duchess of Cambridge, billed as a potential peacemaker, who appeared quite literally to have given them the space to reconnect once more.
After the moving service for Prince Philip, 30 mourners gathered at the side gate to bid farewell to the Queen as she made an emotional exit from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Perhaps sensing an opportunity to break the ice, Harry positioned himself alongside his brother’s wife, who in times gone by he lovingly described as “like a sister to me”.
After exchanging pleasantries, the group set off on a walk towards the castle for a family reception.
Within a few paces Harry found himself in the middle of William and Kate, a throwback to times where he played gooseberry when they lived together at Kensington Palace.
In a seemingly masterful move, or by pure chance, the future queen peeled off to speak to the Countess of Wessex – leaving the brothers side by side, walking and talking.
Body language analyst Adrianne Carter said they appeared at ease.
She said: “Kate seemed to take the lead in chatting, but when the brothers started to walk together it was entirely natural with no sign of stress or discord in their companionship. There was no forced show and no sign of avoiding each other.
“In fact William paused so Harry could walk up the hill with them. It looks to me like grief has reunited them.”
It was the first time Harry had come face to face with his family since the interview he and wife Meghan gave US chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.
A royal source: “It’s no secret tensions have been running incredibly high of late, not to mention the brothers have barely uttered a word to each other in many months.
“Perhaps with the Duke’s passing and their grandmother’s call for unity it could be the catalyst for a renewed relationship. Everyone certainly hopes so.”
Sources had insisted the two princes were “united in grief” and would not let anything detract from commemorating Prince Philip.
Members of the family have been hopeful the brothers’ relationship – plagued by infighting as they set upon different paths – could be mended.
Royal sources confirmed there is “still an awful long way to go” after the Sussexes, who now live in California made a series of breathtaking allegations, claiming a royal had questioned how “dark” the colour of his unborn children would be.
Meghan, who stayed in the US this week as she is heavily pregnant, also claimed she was refused help after revealing to the family she was suicidal while pregnant with son Archie.
It sent shockwaves through the Royal Family, leading the Queen to issue an unprecedented statement suggesting “recollections may vary” but vowing the issues would be rectified internally.
A source said: “It will take a long time to heal on all sides, but the initial signs are encouraging. It is very much hoped this is a turning point for all.”