Prince Andrew and Prince Harry were both banned from saluting during the Queen’s coffin procession today – while other royals including King Charles III, Prince William and Princess Anne all performed the gesture.
Members of the Royal Family saluted when they passed the Cenotaph on Whitehall this afternoon on their way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where the Queen will lie in state until her funeral next Monday.
But Andrew and Harry simply bowed their heads next to the national war memorial because they were not allowed to wear military uniform, which is due to the fact that neither of them are now working royals.
They also did not salute – unlike the other royals – when the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown, arrived at the Palace of Westminster soon after during the procession.
It comes after Andrew, the Duke of York, was also prohibited from wearing his military uniform and saluting at the vigil for his mother earlier this week at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on Monday afternoon for the same reason.
The decision to ban Harry and Andrew from wearing military uniforms in events following the Queen’s death at Balmoral last Thursday is a reminder of how both now have limited involvement in the Royal Family.
Prince Harry spent ten years in the Army, but he was stripped of his honorary military titles in 2020 after he and his wife Meghan Markle announced they were stepping down as senior working royals and moving abroad.
His uncle the Duke of York, who was forced to stand down from public life in 2019 over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, is the only other royal banned from wearing military uniform at the ceremonial events and funeral.
It comes after Harry was denied the chance to wear military uniform as he mourns his grandmother, even though Andrew will be permitted to do so at the lying in state vigil, which is still yet to take place.
Harry, who saw action on the front line during two tours of duty in Afghanistan, will be in civilian dress for official events including the late monarch’s state funeral.
Only working royals – which Harry and Andrew are not – are being permitted to dress in uniform at five ceremonial occasions.
These are the St Giles’ Cathedral service in Edinburgh, which took place on Monday; the coffin’s procession to Westminster Hall today; the Vigil of the Princes at the lying in state; the funeral in Westminster Abbey; and the committal service in Windsor.
But an exception has been made for Andrew who will wear a uniform as a ‘special mark of respect’ for the Queen when he stands guard around her coffin during the Vigil of the Princes.
He is expected to be joined by the Queen’s other children – King Charles III, Princess Anne and Prince Edward – at the proceedings during the lying in state later this week.
It is believed that this decision was made because it would look odd for Andrew to be the only one of the Queen’s four children not in military dress standing by his mother’s coffin.
Andrew wore a morning suit in Edinburgh on Monday while King Charles III wore a full day ceremonial uniform with the rank of Field Marshal, the Princess Royal wore the uniform in the rank of Admiral and the Earl of Wessex wore the blues uniform of the Honorary Royal Colonel of the Wessex Yeomanry.
The move to ban Harry from wearing military uniform is likely to be a bitter blow for the former soldier, who is proud of his decade in the forces, and who was saddened after being stripped of his honorary military roles including Captain General of the Royal Marines by the Queen post-Megxit.
In a statement released yesterday ahead of today’s procession through the capital, his press secretary confirmed he would not don his uniform.
The statement added: ‘Prince Harry… will wear a morning suit throughout the events honouring 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.’
Earlier on Monday, Harry wrote of his special memories of when the Queen attended his passing out parade in 2006 when he became an officer in the British Army.
He told of his ‘first meeting’ with his Granny as ‘my Commander-in-Chief’ – and was believed to be referring to the occasion when the late monarch made him grin and blush while she reviewed the cadets.
A source confirmed Harry – whose rank is a captain – would not be in uniform for any events.
Andrew stepped down from public life after the furore over his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
He went on to pay millions, with no admission as to liability, to settle a civil sexual assault case to a woman he claimed never to have met.
In January, ahead of his legal settlement, the Queen stripped him of all of his honorary military roles, including Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and he gave up his HRH style.
Andrew, a former Royal Navy officer who served in the Falklands War, retained his rank as a Vice Admiral, and is expected to wear the coinciding uniform.
Virginia Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, sued him for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was 17 after she was trafficked by Epstein. Andrew denied the claims.
At the service of thanksgiving in St Giles’ on Monday, Andrew was in a morning suit, while his siblings, including Edward who dropped out of the Royal Marines, wore military dress as they processed behind the Queen’s coffin.
Andrew wore eight medals and decorations – his South Atlantic Medal for service in the Falklands, his Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum medals, a Royal Navy Long Service Medals with Bars, Canadian Forces Decoration with Bar and New Zealand Commemoration Medal.
At the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April 2021, the dress issue was dealt with by the Queen who decided that no members of the royal family should wear uniform.
The Daily Mail revealed that Andrew had demanded to be allowed to wear his uniform as an honorary vice-admiral of the British royal navy.
Around the time of the Philip’s funeral, Andrew even went to his mother to ask her to back him in the uniform row as she prepared to say goodbye to her beloved husband.
After the Mail’s story broke, it was announced that senior royals would wear morning suits in order to deflect the row. It was a break with tradition but seen as the most eloquent solution to the problem.
Andrew was due to be promoted to Admiral in 2020 to mark his 60th birthday, but this did not go ahead following the fallout from his disastrous Newsnight appearance.