Prince Philip funeral: Queen bans military dress code that excluded Harry and Andrew for 'united family front'
Queen Elizabeth II has decided that men will wear morning coats and black ties, while women will wear simple black outfits at the funeral instead of military uniforms
Prince Philip’s funeral will see something entirely unexpected. No member of the Royal Family will wear military uniforms on Saturday, April 17. The Duke of Edinburgh died last week at the age of 99. As per a report in the Daily Mail, this last-minute decision, approved by the Queen, has been made in order to present a united family front. Queen Elizabeth II decided morning coats and black ties for the men, simple black outfits for the women will be the dress code for the funeral. This break from convention means Harry, who has been stripped of his military titles, won't look like the odd one out.
Harry has also reportedly reached out to William, Charles, Eugenie, and Beatrice to keep aside their differences for the funeral. A source told the Mirror: "Despite everything that has gone on and the wounds are still pretty raw, everyone is hoping any disputes will be parked for another day." The source added, "This is about giving the Duke the send-off he deserves surrounded by his family."
Was Harry the reason behind military outfit ban?
As per the report, courtiers were concerned that Harry, who was forced to give up his honorary military titles after he quit royal duties and moved to the US in January 2020, would be the only senior royal not in uniform.
On January 8, 2020, Harry and Meghan announced their decision to "step back as 'senior' members" of the royal family, split their time between the UK and North America, and become financially independent. Last month, during their interview with Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry explained his reason for leaving the royal family was the “lack of support and lack of understanding.”
Reportedly, the Duke of Sussex is said to have wanted to wear the Blues and Royals dress uniform he wore on his wedding day in May 2018. As a former captain with the Household Cavalry, however, he is entitled only to wear a suit, with any medals he has been awarded in the course of his duties or by the Queen.
Other senior members of the royal family -- Charles, Prince of Wales, William Duke of Cambridge, Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Anne, Princess Royal -- however, would have been, by convention, in full military uniform.
That there is tension between Harry and William is common knowledge, especially more so since the Sussexes’ Oprah interview where they opened up about mistreatment within the family. In fact, it has been widely speculated that in his tribute to Prince Philip, William took some subtle and not-so-subtle digs at Harry, especially regarding commitment to the family.
The Andrew problem
It was also reported that Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, demanded that he wear the Admiral’s uniform to the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral. Andrew, who stepped back from royal duties in 2019 over his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was made an honorary Vice-Admiral in the Royal Navy in 2015. He was due to be promoted to become an Admiral in 2020 to mark his 60th birthday but chose to defer it until he resumed his official duties as a working member of the royal family.
Andrew has not yet been stripped of his honorary military titles and remains a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy. The Mail reported that there were concerns within the royal household that if Andrew were denied his request to go in uniform, he and Harry would be the only ones in civilian dress who had seen active service in the military. A source said: “There was the risk of real embarrassment.”
A source close to Andrew said that he would “do what is appropriate” and had no intention to distract from his father’s funeral.