Prince Harry wore a military uniform as he joined Prince William in their final joint appearance in memory of their late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday.
The brothers took part in a poignant vigil next to his coffin, joined by their royal cousins, after days of debate over a decision that only serving royals could wear uniform during funeral of the 96-year-old monarch.
Prince Andrew was given special permission to wear his military uniform at a wake just for the Queen’s children, but initially no similar opportunity was found for Harry.
That all changed when on Friday, September 16, the palace announced that King Charles III had invited Harry to wear his uniform at the grandchildren’s wake.
William and Harry were joined by Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips (Princess Anne’s children), Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie (Prince Andrew’s children) and Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn (Prince’s children). Edward).
The Queen’s body has lain in the hall since Tuesday where, in keeping with tradition, members of the public were able to file past to pay their respects.
People started queuing for rest days in advance, with the queue closing at certain points after reaching capacity with wait times of up to 24 hours.
The grandchildren’s wake is the first of its kind to take place with female members of the royal family among them. The tradition of royal wakes dates back to 1936 when King George V’s four sons stood beside their father’s coffin dressed in their military uniforms.
In 2002, the four grandsons of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother held a vigil during her laying out which echoes that of Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Anne became the first princess to take part in such a vigil on Saturday alongside her brothers; King Charles III and Princes Andrew and Edward.
Uniforms became a controversial topic of debate in the days leading up to royal wakes for the Queen’s children and grandchildren over whether or not Andrew and Harry were allowed to wear them.
Both princes have been stripped of their military sponsorships over the past two years for very different reasons, despite both having served in armed combat for their country.
Andrew had his military honors stripped in January 2022, amid a lawsuit brought by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre, who alleged the prince raped her while she was a victim of sex trafficking 17 years old.
The prince denied the charges but came under fire when he publicly discredited Giuffre and failed to appropriately distance himself from Epstein, with whom he once had a friendship, during a disastrous 2019 interview with the BBC. Newsnight.
Andrew lost his patronages, including the Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, in February before settling the lawsuit with Giuffre out of court for an undisclosed sum while maintaining his position of innocence.
It was announced at the time that the royal would not return to public life and would retain a position as a private citizen.
Harry gave up his military patronages, including Captain General of the Royal Marines in 2021 after the end of the one-year grace period set by Queen Elizabeth II when the royal stepped down from his role as working royal with Meghan Markle in 2020.
No longer having any honorary association with the Armed Forces, Harry was barred from wearing a uniform for ceremonies marking the Queen’s death, including the State Vigil and State Funeral.
The Royal Family’s spokesman at the time announced that: “Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex will wear a morning suit at events in honor of his grandmother.
“His decade of military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully request that the focus remains on the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
Following this, it was later revealed that King Charles’ wish was for William and Harry to wear uniforms for the wake, as the new monarch made a concession for his youngest son. The same concession was given to Andrew who wore the uniform at Friday’s vigil.
Members of the public continued to file past the coffin to pay their respects as the Queen’s grandchildren stood alongside, with a number of greetings and curtsies.
The Queen’s body will be transferred to Westminster Abbey on Monday morning where her state funeral will take place in the presence of world leaders and foreign monarchs.
After this there will be a procession through London to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace from where the coffin will be taken to Windsor Castle.
Once in Windsor, the Queen will rest alongside her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021.