Palace says Prince Harry can’t wear military uniform to queen’s funeral

Prince Harry is not permitted to wear his military uniform to the upcoming funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Buckingham Palace confirmed to media this week that at the five major ceremonial events leading up to and including the queen’s state funeral, only working members of the royal family who hold military titles will be allowed to don their military garb.

Despite serving in the British Army for 10 years and serving two tours in Afghanistan, the Duke of Sussex lost his honorary military titles when he left his role as a working senior royal in 2020 to live in the U.S. with his wife Meghan Markle.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, and Meghan the Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry watch a flypast of Royal Air Force aircraft pass over Buckingham Palace in London on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Matt Dunham / The Canadian Press

Instead, Harry will wear a morning suit to the state funeral.

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“Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex will wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother,” Ashley Hansen, Prince Harry’s spokesperson, said in a statement.

Prince Andrew, Harry’s uncle and brother of the new king, will also not be seen in military uniform as a result of being stripped of all his military affiliations and royal patronages earlier this year after he was accused of sexually assaulting an underage victim of sex trafficking — an accusation he has vehemently denied and settled out of court.

That said, one exception will be made for Andrew, who served for 22 years in the Royal Navy: he will wear his uniform “as a ‘mark of respect’ to the Queen during the final vigil,” royal reporter Roya Nikkhah confirmed on Twitter.

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When asked by Good Morning Britain hosts why Andrew is allowed to wear the military uniform at the vigil and Harry is not, royal biographer Hugo Vickers said Tuesday, “I’m not convinced that we really know, to be honest.”

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Vickers added that “things can change” between now and Monday’s service.

Harry and Andrew are the only two living senior members of the royal family to have served in active combat.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive to attend the Mountbatten Music Festival at Royal Albert Hall on March 7, 2020 in London, England. Simon Dawson / Getty Images

The uniform news quickly spread on social media, with some expressing sympathy for Harry, while others argued that the decision is fair based on the Duke’s position in the royal family and the existing laws on uniforms.

“The decision to not allow Prince Harry to wear his military uniform during the ceremonial events honouring and memorialising Queen Elizabeth II is heartless and vindictive and petty. It cannot be justified by citing either protocol or tradition,” one person tweeted.

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“For a man who fought for his country and had had his Granny as his CIC [Commander-in-Chief], it is not right to deny him the honour of wearing his military uniform for her burial. Prince Harry has earned this right. Even for one last time,” another person shared.

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A third countered with: “Prince Harry isn’t a working royal so therefore he can’t wear ceremonial uniform. Secondly Prince Harry is not currently serving and he could in theory be arrested for wearing a uniform to which he’s not entitled if he were to do so. The same rule applies to all ex members.”

Prince Harry addressed the Palace’s decision on uniforms Tuesday with a statement issued to royal reporters.

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“(Harry’s) decade of military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully ask that focus remain on the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” journalist Omid Scobie tweeted, attributing the words to the Prince’s spokesperson.

This stance on uniforms differs from Prince Philip’s funeral at Windsor Castle in April 2021, when Buckingham Palace announced that no senior royal family members would wear traditional military uniforms.

However, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will differ from her late husband’s service, which was scaled back to a ceremonial royal funeral — not a state funeral — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The queen’s three other children, King Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, wore their military finery for the Service of Thanksgiving at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, this week.

Next week, they will don the garb several times at the procession, prayer service, vigil and state funeral at London’s Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, followed by a Committal Service at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the queen will be laid to rest.


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