Since it was confirmed that the Duke of Sussex would be returning for the funeral of Prince Philip on Saturday 17 April, there has been endless speculation about what Prince Harry will wear and the possibility that he would stick out like a sore thumb in civilian dress while the rest of his family – the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Wessex and Princess Royal – would be, by convention for a royal ceremonial funeral, dressed in full military attire.
Harry, 36, who is quarantining at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor following his flight back from the US, is understood to have wanted to wear the Blues and Royals uniform (the dress of his old Army regiment and what he wore on his wedding day in 2018). However, as a former captain with the Household Cavalry, he would be entitled to only wear a suit with any medals he has been awarded in the course of his duties or by the Queen.
The Queen, ever tactful, is understood to have made the decision to spare the Duke of Sussex any embarrassment by ruling that no military uniforms should be worn at the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh, with a source confirming to the Sun: ‘the current thinking is no uniforms’. A final decision is expected to be announced today, Thursday 15 April. The funeral will not be as large or as grand as a state funeral, but many of the ceremonial elements will remain the same.
The Duke of York was also at the centre of a supplementary row about whether or not he should be allowed to wear an admiral’s uniform to the funeral. Prince Andrew ‘stepped down’ from public duties in 2019 following the bombshell Newsnight interview about his relations with the convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The Times writes that Prince Andrew chose not to insist that he be allowed to wear an admiral’s uniform, despite reportedly already asking tailors to start work on one.
Prince Andrew served 21 years in the Royal Navy and was made an honorary vice-admiral on his 55th birthday in 2015. He was due to be promoted to admiral on his 60th birthday last year but offered to defer it until he had cleared his name and returned to public duties.
A source close to the Duke told the Times: ‘The Duke of York is very keenly aware of Saturday’s funeral being a moment for the Duke of Edinburgh, HM and the nation. He has neither wish nor intention to distract from that. Speculation on what he may or may not wear is just that, speculation, and no matters of this nature have yet been decided upon. The Duke of York will do what is appropriate to the circumstances — he remains stepped back from royal duties.’
One royal source said the family hoped that the funeral would pass off ‘with dignity’ and not ‘be overshadowed by any sideshows’. The source said: ‘Everybody sees it as an opportunity to reconnect. One would hope that this would be a positive first step’.
Since arriving back in the UK, Harry is understood to have spoken to William, Charles, Eugenie and Beatrice in an attempt to ‘park any disputes’ ahead of the funeral, according to the Daily Mail.
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