The Duke of Sussex, 38, appeared somber as he walked in the procession from Westminster Hall to London’s Westminster Abbey on Monday, September 19, to pay his respects alongside his royal relatives. He opted for a morning suit while his father, King Charles III, and brother Prince William donned their uniforms.
Harry’s grandmother died at her Balmoral estate in Scotland on September 8 at age 96. In the days leading up to her state funeral — the first held at Westminster Abbey for a reigning monarch since the 18th century — the U.K. entered its official mourning period. Elizabeth’s coffin traveled from Scotland back to London in a lengthy series of events as her eldest son, 73, assumed the throne.
As funeral preparations were finalized, Buckingham Palace announced that Prince Andrew was granted special permission to wear his military uniform for his late mother’s final vigil as a “mark of respect.” The Duke of York, 62, served more than two decades in the Royal Navy before stepping away from his public duties in 2019 when he was accused of sexual assault by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. The lawsuit was settled out of court in February, one month after Andrew was stripped of his military titles and royal patronages.
Harry, for his part, stepped down from his senior royal role by choice in 2020 and moved to California with wife Meghan Markle. His three honorary military titles — Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving — were lost in the wake of his exit.
Despite his 10 years of army service, the palace did not extend the same permission for Harry to wear his uniform in honor of his late grandmother. The former pilot addressed the decision in a statement via his spokesperson less than one week after Elizabeth’s death.
“[Prince Harry] will wear a morning suit throughout events honoring 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,” the spokesperson noted.
Harry “has come to terms with not wearing uniform on these occasions” amid his ups and downs with his family, a source exclusively told Us Weekly. “Whilst that’s disappointing in some senses, he’s just grateful to be present and honoring the queen. At the end of the day, it’s only a uniform.”
When the Archewell cofounder joined Charles, 73, William, 40, and other royals behind the queen’s hearse during her procession from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, September 14, neither he nor Andrew wore their official military wear. However, the pair had their medals attached to their black suit jackets. Harry and Andrew also did not salute the national memorial as they made their way to Westminster Hall, where Elizabeth laid in state for four days before her funeral.
During the 20-minute service on Wednesday, which was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury supported by the Dean of Westminster, Harry and Meghan, 41, stood behind William and Princess Kate. As the Sussexes left the chapel, they shared a brief moment of affection, holding each other’s hands as they walked.
After much back and forth, Harry was eventually allowed to wear his uniform while standing vigil with his brother at Westminster Hall on Saturday, September 17. He stood guard alongside William, but eagle-eyed onlookers noticed a difference in the princes’ military garb. While William’s epaulet featured the letters “ER” — the initials of their late grandmother — Harry’s did not.