Royal rule change. Prince Harry will now be able to wear his military uniform to the final vigil for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Harry, 38, will be one of seven of the queen’s grandchildren present to stand near her coffin in silence for 15 minutes at the vigil held in Westminster Hall, according to a tweet from royal reporter Omid Scobie on Thursday, September 15. (The U.K.’s The Mirror was first to report the update.)
The vigil takes place on Saturday, September 16, before Elizabeth is laid to rest in a state funeral the following Monday. Earlier this week, Buckingham Palace confirmed to several outlets that an exception would be made for Prince Andrew, who served more than 20 years in the Royal Navy, to wear his uniform at the event despite not being a working member of the royal family. Harry, however, was not granted the same honor.
As the news raised eyebrows, the Archewell cofounder addressed the situation via his spokesperson. “[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 statement read on Tuesday, September 13.
Harry was a member of the armed forces for 10 years, serving on the front lines in Afghanistan in 2007. After he and Meghan Markle chose to step down from their senior duties in 2020, the prince lost his honorary titles: Captain General Royal Marines, Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving. (Andrew, for his part, was stripped of his military titles in the wake of his 2019 sexual assault scandal. The lawsuit was settled in February.)
Before the palace’s change of heart, a source told Us Weekly that Harry had “come to terms with not wearing uniform on these occasions” following his royal exit. “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,” the insider added.
The Duke of Sussex joined Prince William, King Charles III and more royal family members behind the queen’s hearse during her procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, September 14. Unlike his brother, 40, and father, 73, Harry wore a morning suit with his medals attached to the lapels instead of his official uniform. The BetterUp CIO also did not salute the national memorial, instead bowing his head in a subtle showing of respect.
After his grandmother’s death on September 8, Harry spoke out about their sweet bond and the memories they shared. “Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings — from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my commander in chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren. I cherish these times shared with you, and the many other special moments in between,” he wrote in a Monday, September 12, statement. “You are already sorely missed, not just by us, but by the world over. And as it comes to first meetings, we now honor my father in his new role as King Charles III.”
The loss has been “intensely difficult” for Harry and his older brother, a second source told Us. “They both adored their grandma and it will take some time to process the reality of her passing. … There’s still this horrendous sense of loss and emptiness thinking that she’ll no longer be around.”