Prince Harry has been given an exception to wear his military uniform at a vigil for his grandmother Queen Elizabeth on Saturday, The Mirror reported on Thursday. The outlet says that the decision was made by Buckingham Palace, after public backlash followed the news that Prince Andrew was given an exception to wear his military uniform at one event.
Previously, it was determined that the Duke of Sussex wasn’t allowed to wear his military uniform at the state funeral, nor any of the ceremonial events leading up to it. This new decision means that the duke will be able to wear his uniform during a vigil alongside the queen’s other seven grandchildren on Saturday evening, at Westminster Hall.
The decision did not come at Prince Harry’s request, HuffPost has learned. Spokespeople for the prince also made it clear in a statement shared with HuffPost earlier this week that he was willing to wear whatever his grandmother had requested.
“Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex will wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother,” a spokesperson for the duke confirmed to HuffPost Tuesday.
“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,” the spokesperson added.
Prince Andrew, who like Prince Harry is no longer a senior working member of the royal family ― albeit for very different reasons ― has also worn and will wear a morning suit for his mother’s funeral engagements.
However, a special exception was made for Andrew to wear his military uniform for the queen’s final vigil at Westminster Hall, according to sources.
The Duke of Sussex served in the British Army for over 10 years. He completed two tours in Afghanistan and rose to the rank of major. In 2014, while still in the military, he founded the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style multi-sport event for wounded service members.
Harry has frequently spoken about how much his time in the military meant to him, saying it “changed my life forever and for the better.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as working members of the royal family in 2020 and confirmed last year that they would not return as working royals. The decision meant that the honorary military appointments and royal patronages held by the two were returned to the queen.
Despite the change, the Sussexes made it clear that they were dedicated to a “life of service” in their new roles.
“We can all live a life of service. Service is universal,” a spokesperson for the couple told HuffPost at the time.
Prince Andrew also served in the Royal Navy for 22 years, and was a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War.
The Duke of York stepped back from royal duties for the “foreseeable future” in 2019, after a disastrous interview with the BBC’s “Newsnight.”
In the interview, the royal made attempts to distance himself from his late friend, the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and denied ever meeting Virginia Giuffre, who has accused Andrew of sexually assaulted and abusing her when she was a minor.
The duke briefly returned to royal life in February 2020, in a meeting with China’s ambassador on behalf of his mother. A source told HuffPost at the time that the visit was not done in any official capacity. Andrew also spoke in a television interview in 2021 after the death of his father, Prince Philip.
Later that year, Giuffre filed a lawsuit in New York City under the Child Victims Act. The suit alleged that Epstein and his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, trafficked and abused Giuffre. It also claimed that Andrew sexually assaulted Giuffre three times.
Months after the suit, Andrew was stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages.
“With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” a statement from Buckingham Palace said at the time. “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.” A source confirmed that the decision was made with Andrew’s consent.
The following month, a statement delivered on behalf of both Giuffre and Andrew revealed that the two parties had reached an out-of-court settlement.