Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Harry will get a chance to wear a military uniform in a vigil for Queen Elizabeth II, following complaints about Prince Andrew receiving favorable treatment.
The Duke of Sussex served two rounds on the front line in Afghanistan, seeing action as a gunner in an Apache helicopter.
However, early funeral plans prevented him from wearing his military uniform as he is no longer a working royal.
The same policy was applied to Prince Andrew, only the disgraced Duke of York was given the opportunity to wear his uniform, which is only for the Queen’s children, on Friday, 16 September at 7.30pm UK time.
The Daily Mirror reported on 15 September that Prince Harry would be allowed to wear his military uniform on Saturday, 17 September in a separate watch for Elizabeth’s grandson, and the palace confirmed the U-turn on 16 September.
Broadcaster Peter Hunt, the BBC’s former royal correspondent, wrote on Twitter: “Prince Andrew wearing a uniform with his siblings – and Prince Harry being denied the same opportunity – was simply unsettling.”
The Queen’s eight grandchildren will perform a 15-minute vigil around her coffin at Westminster Hall, with Prince William, Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips at the front and Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie at the back.
Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, both children of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, will attend.
Days after the climb there was such a widespread backlash that even one of Harry and Meghan Markle’s staunch critics, Piers Morgan, supported the Duke of Sussex wearing his uniform.
in a column for Sun On 14 September, Morgan wrote: “I am not a fan of Prince Harry, to put it mildly. I think his behavior since leaving the UK and on royal duty has been extremely selfish, greedy and detrimental to the monarchy.
“But one thing I will never disappoint for him is his right to receive due respect for his military service, which includes two visits to Afghanistan,” he said.
“And I don’t think it’s fair that she’s banned from wearing her uniform at events commemorating the death of her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.”
The notion that Andrew was being given preferential treatment prompted much backlash against the ruling, citing multiple Virginia Giuffre’s allegations that he raped her when she was a 17-year-old Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking victim. Andrew denied the charges and settled out of court without accepting liability.
Shola Moss-Shogabamimu, author of that’s why i protest and a prominent commentator in Britain pointed out newsweek: “It’s a sad double standard here.
“Prince Andrew was stripped of all his honorary military titles because of the humiliation he brought to the Royal Navy and the Royal Family following allegations of sexual abuse by Virginia Giuffre.
“Prince Harry served with distinction. He served in the military while rising in rank. He made two tours of Afghanistan. He still works with veterans and promotes support for wounded men and women.”
However, comparisons were also drawn with working members of the royal family, who have had a less illustrious military career than Harry’s.
For example, Prince Edward is allowed to wear a military uniform adorned with medals related to his honorary military title, despite the fact that he dropped out of the Royal Marines without completing training.
None of her medals pertain to active service or any military deployment, although she has been decorated to honor the Queen’s numerous birth anniversary and has several commemorative medals.
Royal biographer Omid Scobie wrote on Twitter: “In a dramatic U-turn, palace officials have informed Prince Harry that he may wear his military uniform at the final vigil.
“On Saturday evening, Harry will stand in silence at Westminster Hall for 15 minutes by the Queen’s coffin with seven other grandchildren.”
The controversy over the military uniforms of Harry and Andrew dates back to Prince Philip’s funeral, when there were early suggestions that Andrew might attempt to attend the admiral’s uniform despite never being in rank.
A spokesman for Harry issued a statement earlier this week calling for tensions over the uniform issue to be de-escalated and the Queen’s focus.
It read: “Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex will wear a morning suit at all events in honor of his grandmother. The decade of his military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully ask that His Majesty’s life and Let the focus be on the legacy. Queen Elizabeth II.”