AS a young man William can never have imagined himself paying homage to his father in Westminster Abbey.
But there he was kissing him on the cheek and watching the King’s eyes well up with emotion.
The following evening he paid a moving tribute to his “ancient” dad as part of the Coronation concert.
It was completely genuine and heartfelt, and when William returned to the Royal Box, the King was again clearly moved. So was the audience.
Last September, a day after the loss of his mother the Queen, Charles announced “he was proud” to create William ‘Prince of Wales’, and how he would be taking over “some of the titles that have meant so much” to him throughout his life.
Proud and pride are two words both father and son have been using over the last few days, but there was a time a few years ago William would avoid his father.
And when they did speak, it was usually to disagree.
Charles found William difficult to deal with as they both have a short fuse.
Their infrequent telephone calls were often heated discussions as father and son clashed over their differing opinions.
William was not afraid to speak out and say he found some of his father’s ideas distinctly old fashioned and impractical.
He disliked the grand style in which his father insisted on living and, being a perfectionist, how many staff Charles needed to keep his own show on the road.
It was Harry to whom Charles then turned.
Before Harry’s marriage to Meghan, Charles would confide in his younger son.
He did his best to help him through his ups and downs, especially when he was photographed naked in Las Vegas.
Before Harry’s marriage to Meghan, Charles would confide in his younger son
Harry was horribly ashamed, but Charles was surprisingly calm and offered his advice on how to deal with the embarrassment.
When he was at school at Gordonstoun, he was discovered drinking cherry brandy in a bar, which made headline news. It was pretty innocent but took him years to live down.
Charles has even been forgiving about the barely disguised insults hurled at him and Queen Camilla in Harry’s biography. William has felt no compunction to do the same.
Harry’s dishonest remarks offended him and Kate, and he has no desire to reconnect with his brother.
William has, instead, reconnected with his dad.
While Charles remains a traditionalist at heart, William is keen to push for changes at a faster pace.
His father understands and knows he will do things his own way when his time comes.
As a youngster William became momentarily overwhelmed by the thought of the responsibilities he was born to shoulder and declared that he did not want to be King (Harry famously piped up, ‘If you don’t want to be King, I will be!’).
Now, with the help of Kate and the Middleton family, William has re-bonded with his Pa.
At one time Charles was envious of his closeness to the Middletons, but he understands now more than ever how much his son and his family needs them.
William is determined that his children will not suffer as he and Harry did during their parents’ tumultuous relationship.
He has a strong father-son bond with Prince George. They watch football and rugby together and the whole family dance around the kitchen at breakfast time.
That would never have happened with his father.
The only time little Wills had breakfast with his dad it was not a success. Eggs and toast ended up on the floor and Charles summoned nanny and told her – ‘we won’t be repeating this experiment again!’
Their father-son bond might have come late. But now it is there, it will not be broken.
Ingrid Seward is editor in chief of Majesty magazine and author of William and Harry.