Prince Harry is ‘given green light to wear military uniform’ at special vigil for Queen

Royal insiders say ‘common sense has prevailed’ as Palace give green light for Prince Harry to wear uniform in special vigil at Westminster Hall on Saturday – with Prince Andrew also allowed to don colours alongside siblings on Friday

  • Princes William and Harry due to take part in a special vigil for the Queen at Westminster Hall on Saturday
  • The pair will join six other grandchildren tomorrow at vigil, where they will stand guard of the Queen’s coffin
  • Event will mirror Vigil of the Princes – which saw Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew stand guard in Edinburgh
  • Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew will hold another vigil beside the Queen’s coffin in Westminster on Friday
  • According to the Mirror, Prince Harry will be allowed to wear a military uniform at the event on Saturday

A decision to allow Prince Harry to wear his military uniform during a special vigil in honour of the Queen was last night branded a victory for ‘common sense’.

It comes after reports claimed that Princes William and Harry are set to take part in a special vigil in honour of the Queen on Saturday.

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex will reportedly join the Queen’s six other grandchildren in a special 15 minute vigil at Westminster Hall.

It is believed the eight grandchildren will pay respects to the Queen by standing in silence beside Her Majesty’s coffin – in a scene which will mirror the Vigil of the Princes.

The special memorial saw King Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, stand guard at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh earlier this week.

Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward will repeat the vigil at Westminster Hall on Friday night. But it will now reportedly be followed by a separate event by the grandchildren on Saturday.

In a further twist, the Duke of Sussex will be allowed to wear military uniform at the event following a Palace U-turn, according to The Mirror.

Prince Harry had, up until this point, been prevented from donning military colours, following his decision to step back from frontline royal duties.

However a row erupted following reports Prince Andrew, who has also been banned from wearing his uniform following sexual assault allegations, claims he denies, will be allowed to wear his military colours at the vigil on Friday.

Tonight sources close to the Sussex, speaking to friendly journalists, insisted the Palace U-turn did not come following pressure from former serviceman Prince Harry.

One such journalist, Omid Scobie, the writer of the couple’s biography, today claimed the Palace had ‘caved to public sentiment’ after ‘thousands’ had complained about the decision to ‘ban him and not Prince Andrew’.

Meanwhile, a royal source last night proclaimed to The Mirror that ‘common sense has prevailed’.

According to the Mirror, Prince Harry has reportedly been given special dispensation to don military colours at Saturday’s vigil. However it is not clear what uniform he will wear, given that he no longer holds a position in the military.

The Duke of Sussex has so far be unable to wear military uniform during any of his public appearances following the Queen’s death.

That is because, when he stepped back as a front line royal in the wake of Megxit, he was stripped of his military patrognages.

Prince Harry, who served in the British army for a decade including two tours of Afghanistan, has so far worn a morning suit with military medals to public events.

However Prince Andrew, who also stepped back frontline royal duties in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, is set to be given special dispensation to wear his colours on Friday night.

The exception was made for the Duke of York to wear uniform for the vigil at Westminster Hall as a ‘final mark of respect’ for his mother.

He is expected to wear the full military dress uniform of a Vice Admiral of the Navy – the only military rank that he still holds.

The decision to allow Prince Andrew to wear a military uniform, while maintain the Duke of Sussex’s ban, had led to criticism from some quarters, while the Duke of Sussex himself released a pointed statement addressing the issue, saying his decade of service was ‘not determined by the uniform he wears’.

A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex said: ‘His decade of military service is not determined by the uniform he wears and we respectfully ask that focus remain on the.’

Meanwhile, a source told the Mirror last night: ‘It was a ludicrous situation given the Duke of Sussex has served his country and is a highly respected member of the armed forces with everything he has done for veterans,’ the source added.

‘It is important that the Queen’s grandchildren are all made to feel welcome and comfortable as they grieve their beloved grandmother together.’

The Queen’s other grandchildren including Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara and Peter Philips and Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn are also understood to form part of the guard of honour on Saturday evening.

It comes as today full details of the Queen’s state funeral were announced. The funeral will end with a two-minute national silence in a ‘fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign’ before she is laid to rest beside her late husband.

Charles III and the Royal Family have said they ‘wish to send their sincere gratitude for the messages of condolence received from around the world’, adding they have been ‘deeply moved by the global response and affection shown for the Queen as people join them in mourning the loss of Her Majesty’.

200 everyday heroes – including NHS staff who excelled during the pandemic and volunteers recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June – will be part of a 2,000-strong congregation gathered at Westminster Abbey for the final farewell to the long-reigning monarch on Monday.

Britain’s bravest military heroes awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest and most prestigious award of Britain’s honours system introduced in 1856 by Queen Victoria during the Crimean War – or the George Cross, have also been asked to attend.

They will join royals, politicians and world leaders in the historic church at 11am. All guests must arrive from 8am and moving elements of the funeral will include the sounding of the Last Post at 11.55am followed by a two-minute silence in the Abbey and throughout the UK as the service nears its end at midday.

The Queen’s state funeral will ‘unite people across the globe and resonate with people of all faiths’, according to The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, the man in charge of the historic day that will see Her Majesty buried with Prince Philip and her parents at Windsor on Monday evening.

The Duke of Norfolk said today that it was ‘both humbling and daunting’ to have the ‘honour and great responsibility’ to run an event that will be watched by billions of people around the globe. He said: ‘The events of recent days are a reminder of the strength of our Constitution, a system of government, which in so many ways is the envy of the world’.

The Duke has laid out his plans and revealed that the King, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex will mount a 15-minute vigil around the Queen’s coffin as it lies in state in the ancient Westminster Hall at 7.30pm on Friday. The siblings did the same thing in Edinburgh earlier this week in a ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes.

Buckingham Palace also revealed a minute-by-minute breakdown of the state funeral – the first that Britain has hosted since Winston Churchill died in 1965.

On the morning of the State Funeral, the Lying-in-State will end at 6.30am as the final members of the public are admitted.

The doors of Westminster Abbey will open at 8am as the congregation of 2,000 VIPs begin to take their seats, three hours before the service begins at 11am.

At 10.35am, Her Majesty will be carried on the the gun carriage that conveyed her mother and father to their funerals from Westminster Hall, arriving at 10.52am. Her son, the new King, will lead the procession behind.

Moving elements of the funeral will include the sounding of the Last Post at 11.55am as the service nears its end, followed by a two-minute national silence which will be observed by the abbey congregation and by millions across the UK.

4billion people globally are expected to tune with the BBC and ITV broadcasting all day in the UK.

The Reveille – the traditional bugle call that awakens soldiers at dawn – and then the National Anthem will take place, and finally a Lament played by the Queen’s Piper which will bring the service to a close at noon, when the coffin will be carried from the Abbey.

At 12.15pm the Queen’s children and members of the Royal Family will walk behind her coffin to Wellington Arch when it leaves Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty begins her journey to Windsor to be laid to rest next to her beloved husband Prince Philip.

The Queen’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession, including Prince William and Prince Harry side-by-side again, will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

The King will once again lead his family in marching behind the Queen’s coffin when it is moved. He will walk with Anne, Andrew and Edward, and behind the quartet will be the Queen’s grandsons Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales. Just like yesterday, they will be followed by the late monarch’s son-in-law Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester, and her nephew the Earl of Snowdon.

The Queen’s coffin will be carried during the procession on a 123-year-old gun carriage, pulled by 98 Royal Navy sailors using ropes in a tradition dating back to the funeral of Queen Victoria.

She will be accompanied on her final journey by a massed Pipes & Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas, and the Royal Air Force – numbering 200 musicians.

The Procession is formed of seven groups, each supported by a service band. Mounties from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will lead, immediately followed by representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, NHS, along with detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth.

Her Majesty’s hearse will arrive at the Long Walk at 3.15pm, where the public will be able to give their final respects. The procession of senior royals, which will have been formed up and in position after being driven to Windsor, will again walk behind the hearse into the grounds of the castle.

There will be a televised ceremony at St George’s Chapel in Windsor at 4pm on Monday. Some 800 people, including members of the Queen’s Household and Windsor estate staff, will attend the committal service. As the coffin is lowered into the royal vault the Sovereign’s Piper will play a lament and walk slowly away so the music fades.

The Queen is to be buried together with the Duke of Edinburgh at the King George VI Memorial Chapel. The King will scatter earth on his mother’s coffin at 7.30pm at a private family service. Her Majesty will be buried next to her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, her father King George VI and mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, for eternity.

Huw Edwards, Kirsty Young and David Dimbleby are among the broadcasters leading BBC coverage of the Queen’s funeral, the corporation has announced.

The special programming will air from 8am until 5pm on Monday September 19 on BBC One and iPlayer, with BSL signed coverage on BBC Two. Edwards and Fergal Keane will be covering events from London and Young and Dimbleby from Windsor, with other reporters stationed at other key areas throughout the day.

ITV will also be broadcasting through the day, with the coverage led by journalist Tom Bradby, a friend of Prince Harry.

After the state funeral, attended by some 2,000 guests, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on a horse-drawn gun carriage before being driven by the state hearse to Windsor.

Other representatives of the Realms and the Commonwealth, the Orders of Chivalry including recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross, Government, Parliament, devolved Parliaments and Assemblies, the Church, and Her Majesty’s Patronages will form the congregation, along with other public representatives.

And almost 200 people who were recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year will also join the congregation, including those who made extraordinary contributions to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and have volunteered in their local communities.

The Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk, said: ‘The Queen held a unique and timeless position in all our lives. This has been felt more keenly over the past few days as the world comes to terms with her demise.

‘Her Majesty’s passing has left many people across many continents with a profound sense of loss.

‘The respect, admiration and affection in which the Queen was held, make our task both humbling and daunting. An honour and a great responsibility.

‘It is our aim and belief that the state funeral and events of the next few days will unite people across the globe and resonate with people of all faiths, whilst fulfilling Her Majesty and her family’s wishes to pay a fitting tribute to an extraordinary reign.’

The procession will arrive at the west gate of Westminster Abbey at 10.52am when the bearer party will lift the coffin from the gun carriage and carry it into the Abbey for the state funeral service, the Earl Marshal said.

The service will begin at 11am and will be conducted by the Dean of Westminster.

The Prime Minister and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth will read Lessons, while the Archbishop of York, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Free Churches Moderator will say prayers.

The sermon will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury who will also give the commendation, while the Dean will pronounce the blessing.

At around 11.55am the Last Post will sound, followed by two minutes of silence to be observed in the Abbey and throughout the UK.

Reveille, the national anthem and a lament played by the Queen’s piper will bring the state funeral service to an end at around 12 noon.

The bearer party will then lift the coffin from the catafalque and will move in procession through the Great West Door returning to the State Gun Carriage positioned outside the West Gate.

After the service the Queen’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

The King and the royal party will take up their same places behind the coffin as when they escorted it to the Abbey, while the Queen Consort and Princess of Wales will travel to the site by car as will the Duchess of Sussex and Countess of Wessex.

The route will be lined by the Armed Forces from Westminster Abbey to the top of Constitution Hill at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates.

The Procession is formed of seven groups, each supported by a service band. Mounties from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will lead, immediately followed by representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, NHS, along with detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth.

At Wellington Arch the royal family will watch as the Queen’s coffin is transferred to the new state hearse, whose details the Queen approved, before it begins its journey to Windsor Castle.

The Earl Marshal said that at 3.06pm, the state hearse will approach Shaw Farm Gate on Albert Road, Windsor, and join the procession which will be in position.

At 3.10pm the procession will step off via Albert Road, Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (South and West sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

At approximately 3.40 pm the King and other members of the royal family who are walking in the procession join it at the Quadrangle on the North side as it passes into Engine Court.

Members of the Queen’s, the King’s and the Prince of Wales’s households will be positioned at the rear of the coffin.

The Queen Consort with the Princess of Wales, and the Duchess of Sussex with the Countess of Wessex will again follow by car.

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