No royal military uniforms at Prince Philip’s funeral, queen rules, to avoid embarrassment for Prince Harry
- Former British Army captain Harry – who did two tours of Afghanistan – was stripped of his honorary military titles after his shock departure from royal life
- The queen is reported to have ‘personally stepped in’ to suggest the royal men wear morning coats with medals, allowing the family to present a united front
Members of Britain’s royal family at Prince Philip’s funeral will wear civilian clothing, Buckingham Palace says, reportedly to avoid awkwardness about which princes are entitled to wear military uniform.
Queen Elizabeth, 94, will pay her last respects to her late husband at Windsor Castle on Saturday, leading a congregation of just 30 because of coronavirus restrictions.
The announcement came after a swirl of media speculation about the queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, and grandson Prince Harry. Former British Army captain Harry – who did two tours of Afghanistan – was stripped of his honorary military titles after his shock departure from royal life last year.
Under royal protocol, he is not allowed to wear formal military dress, and is now entitled only to wear a suit with his service medals.
Andrew, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot who saw action in the 1982 Falklands war, had been set to take the honorary rank of admiral for his 60th birthday last year.
But the appointment was put on hold after he stepped back from royal duties due to an outcry about his friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Sun tabloid said there would have been “serious displeasure” in the Navy had he worn uniform. The Daily Telegraph said there had been “intense discussions” to avoid a situation where the only two royals to have seen front-line duty were the ones not in uniform.
It said the queen, who will follow Friday’s funeral procession in a Bentley, “personally stepped in” to suggest the civilian clothing rule, allowing the family to present a united front.
The funeral, though stripped back, will still have a strong military element, due to Prince Philip’s past as a World War II naval commander.
Harry’s appearance at the funeral will be the first time he has been seen in public with the royals since he and his wife Meghan gave an explosive television interview broadcast last month accusing unnamed royals of racism.
Meghan will not be at the funeral. She was advised not to travel on medical grounds as she is heavily pregnant with the couple’s second child.