A royal expert has warned that King Charles III’s decree that only working royals can wear military uniforms at the Queen’s funeral next week could lead to more problems with his son Prince Harry in the future.
A panel of royal commentators and experts discussed Her Majesty’s passing in the latest episode of Mail+’s popular royal talk show Palace Confidential, while also exploring the new Monarch’s decision to give his brother, Prince Andrew, special permission to don military garb at his late mother’s final vigil.
Some have praised the decision as ‘decisive’, but the Daily Mail’s Diary Editor Richard Eden believes the new King is making a ‘mistake’.
Andrew, 62, was forced to give up his HRH status and was stripped of all his honorary military titles earlier this year amid the fallout from his ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In recent years he has been plagued with accusations made by one of Epstein’s ‘sex slaves’ alleging the royal had sexually abused her when she was a minor under American law. This culminated in a bombshell US lawsuit and a multimillion-pound out of court settlement, although the Duke of York has consistently denied the allegations.
A royal expert has warned it is a ‘mistake’ for King Charles III to allow Prince Andrew to wear military uniform at a vigil for the late Queen – but not give Prince Harry the same concession
Harry, 37, was stripped of his royal titles after he stepped down from royal duties, while Andrew, 62, had his taken away following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal
The King has granted Andrew permission to wear his vice admiral’s uniform at a final vigil for their late mother as a ‘special mark of respect’, however Harry will still have to wear a suit
While Andrew has been banned from donning his military garb at any of the events and ceremonies held to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II thus far, his brother, King Charles III, has granted him permission to wear uniform when he attends a final vigil for Her Majesty on Wednesday.
Some have praised the decision as ‘decisive’, but the Daily Mail’s Diary Editor Richard Eden believes the new King is making a ‘mistake’
However Harry, 37, who was stripped of his military titles when he and his wife Meghan Markle quit their royal duties and relocated to the US, has not been afforded the same concession and will instead wear a suit for all events surrounding the Queen’s passing, including her funeral on Monday.
‘While I think the King made the right decision in banning Harry and Andrew from wearing their uniforms, I think it was a mistake that he’s allowed Andrew to wear his for this vigil in front of the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall,’ Eden explained.
It doesn’t seem right then for Prince Harry to then be denied any opportunity. I can’t see any logic behind that exception at all I’m afraid.’
The royal expert also called attention to the fact that Andrew and Harry were the only members of the royal family who ‘saw active service’, saying: ‘Prince Andrew was very brave during the Falklands conflict… and then Prince Harry had two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
‘So both of them have the greatest right to wear uniform.
‘But they gave that up. Unfortunately you can’t have it both ways. So it was the right decision by the King.’
He adds that Prince Harry will be understandably upset that his uncle Andrew is allowed to wear a vice admiral’s uniform for the private event. Eden notes that supporters of the Sussexes have also been left in uproar over the decision.
Andrew (seen with King Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward) has been banned from wearing his military garb at any other event held to mark the life of Her Majesty
Eden told Mail+’s royal talk show Palace Confidential that the decision to grant Andrew the concession, but not Harry, could lead to more tensions
It doesn’t seem right for Prince Harry to then be denied any opportunity. I can’t see any logic behind that exception at all I’m afraid,’ he said while discussing the movie with the Daily Mail’s Royal Editor Rebecca English
‘Let’s be clear, this decision by the king about the uniforms is a big one, I mean, Prince Harry and Meghan’s admirers are furious about it,’ he said.
‘I think it’s fair to say that when they return to California, we might be hearing more about this.’
The Daily Mail’s Royal Editor Rebecca English noted that the topic of what certain royals are and aren’t allowed to wear at public events has been a ‘big issue’ for a while now – noting that Andrew’s ban from donning military garb caused a ‘fuss’ ahead of his father, Prince Philip’s funeral last year.
‘It’s been a big issue and there’s a reason why it’s been a big issue, because for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last year, behind the scenes, Andrew really kicked up a fuss about wanting to wear his vice admiral’s uniform,’ she explained.
He was actually made an honorary vice admiral by his mother for his 55th birthday and he should have been promoted to admiral for his 60th but because of the Epstein scandal that was put on hold.
‘But he still is entitled to wear this uniform and he kicked up a stink and as a result there were huge changes. The Queen personally ruled that everyone had to wear their morning dress and nobody could wear uniform.’
According to English, the King made a quick decision regarding Andrew’s military attire out of a desire to prevent the issue from ‘dominating’ the days after his late mother’s death.
Eden also called attention to the fact that Andrew and Harry were the only members of the royal family who ‘saw active service’, praising the Duke of York for his ‘brave’ service in the Falklands Conflict
Harry also completed two tours of Afghanistan, with Eden noting that he and Andrew are arguably the royals with the ‘greatest right’ to don military uniform
‘What’s happened now is King Charles III has not wanted that to dominate the first few days of mourning their mother and he’s acted really decisively and ruled that only working members of the royal family can wear uniforms, with one exception that Andrew will be allowed to wear his vice admiral’s uniform when they perform a vigil at Westminster,’ she said.
I’ve been told that it was a personal decision by him. It’s going to be a last chance for a son to mourn his mother.’
She agreed with Eden that the exception for Andrew has made things all the more ‘complex’ when it comes to Harry, because his lack of military dress will now be all the more ‘stark’.
English went on to add that challenges such as these will be difficult for the conflict-averse King.
‘Both the Queen and the new King hate family confrontations and that’s been part of the problem over the past few years – the Queen didn’t want to upset her children, particularly people like Andrew, that’s why I think they were so slow in making some of the decisions they made, especially over his recent problems,’ she tells the program.
‘The then Prince of Wales, the now King is the same, hence some of the issues with Harry because he just doesn’t like personal confrontation. He’s going to have to now.
‘That’s why it’s very interesting he’s laid down this marker very quickly and I think Andrew knows, he’s no longer got his mother to run to.’
This installment of Palace Confidential also sees the panel of royal experts discussing the little-known importance the Countess of Wessex had to the late Queen.