Harry releases statement on not wearing military uniform for Queen’s funeral

·3 min read
Britain's Prince Harry greets people outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor, Britain, September 10, 2022. REUTERS/Paul Childs
Prince Harry has released a statement. (Reuters)

The Duke of Sussex has requested the focus of the coming days remains on his grandmother following reports he will not be allowed to be his military uniform at events commemorating the Queen.

On Monday, it emerged Harry would not be allowed to wear military uniforms to any of the events - even though Prince Andrew has been given permission to wear his at the final vigil in Westminster Hall as a "special mark of respect".

Working members of the royal family will wear uniform when present at five ceremonial events during the period of mourning the Queen.

These are the Service of Thanksgiving at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, the procession to Westminster Hall and service of prayer and reflection, the Vigil at Westminster Hall, the state funeral at Westminster Abbey and the Committal Service at St George’s Chapel Windsor.

As a non-working member of the royal family, the Duke of York will not wear uniform, it is believed, except as a special mark of respect at the final vigil in Westminster Hall, at which only the Queen's children will be present.

Watch: Prince Harry blocked from wearing military uniform while mourning Queen

Harry, who quit life as a working royal in 2020, has not been given an exception.

The decision was thought to have been a painful blow to Harry, but a spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex said on Tuesday: “Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex will wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother.

“His 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.”

Read more: Crowds line streets to see Queen’s coffin on final journey from Balmoral

Britain's William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex walk outside Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor, Britain, September 10, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex walk outside Windsor Castle. (Reuters)

Read more: Queen's coffin procession: Route map and timings as hearse arrives in London

Harry, who served two tours in Afghanistan during a decade in the Army, lost his honorary military titles after deciding to step down as a senior working royal in 2020.

Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

He went on to pay millions to settle a civil sexual assault case to a woman he claimed never to have met.

In January, ahead of his legal settlement, the Queen stripped him of all of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and he gave up his HRH style.

Andrew, a former Royal Navy officer who served in the Falklands War, retained his rank as a Vice Admiral, and is expected to wear the coinciding uniform.

Virginia Giuffre sued him for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by Epstein. Andrew denied the claims.

Britain's King Charles, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex walk behind Queen Elizabeth's coffin during the procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain September 12, 2022. Peter Byrne/Pool via REUTERS
(L-r) King Charles, Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex walk behind the Queen's coffin. (Reuters)

At the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April 2021, the dress issue was dealt with by the Queen who decided that no members of the royal family should wear uniform.

It was a break with tradition but seen as the most eloquent solution to the problem.

Reports had suggested Andrew was considering wearing the uniform of an admiral.

He was due to be promoted to Admiral in 2020 to mark his 60th birthday, but this did not go ahead following the fallout from his disastrous Newsnight appearance.