Why Prince Harry Can’t Wear Military Uniform?

Credit: E! News/YouTube Screenshot

Credit: E! News/YouTube Screenshot

When Prince Harry stepped down as a senior royal with his wife, Meghan Markle, in 2020, he was stripped of his royal patronages and military titles. So, is it why he can’t wear his military uniform?

Prince Harry’s non-wearing of military uniform during Queen Elizabeth’s memorial proved to be a controversial topic. Though he was later permitted to do so during the final vigil, it didn’t without a big drama.

The Royal Protocol

The former senior royal returned his military titles, from Captain General Royal Marines to Honorary Air Commandant to RAF Honington and Commodore-in-Chief to Small Ships and Diving and Royal Naval Command, to Queen Elizabeth in February 2021.

After a 12-month review of the Sussexes’ infamous Megxit, the palace released a statement to address their stand in the royal family.

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It said,

“Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service. The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family.”

Royal authors Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie said that the “most demoralizing aspect” of Prince Harry and Meghan’s deal with their grandma at the time was the stripping of his honorary military appointments.

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In an excerpt from their book Finding Freedom, they wrote,

“As a retired serviceman, Harry would always be able to wear his medals, but no longer could he wear uniform as Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving Operations. [It’s been] a tough pill to swallow and the one that has been most painful to Meghan witness him go through. It’s the one that made Harry emotional.”

The British Royal Family Dress Code

In the British royal family dress code, only working royal family members who serve in the armed forces can wear their uniforms during military affairs, like the Trooping the Colour, Remembrance Sunday, and state funerals.

So after Prince Harry stepped back from his royal duties, he hadn’t donned his military uniform during the said events even after serving a decade in the British Army.

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He was later granted permission to wear it during Queen Elizabeth’s final vigil when she passed away in September 2022 following a backlash over Prince Andrew’s nod to wear one as a “special mark of respect.”

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