There was a major development yesterday ahead of the final events preceding the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. Prince Harry will be in uniform on Saturday when he takes part in a vigil alongside his cousins to honour their grandmother. Harry will join Prince William, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Lady Louise, and James, Viscount Severn, standing guard for 15 minutes by the Queen’s coffin.
This, of course, is a reversal of a previously announced decision about Harry in uniform. Initially both Harry and Prince Andrew were not permitted to be in uniform at any public mourning events, although an exception was made for Andrew to wear his colours at the Vigil of the Princes tonight with King Charles and his siblings. This did not go over well with a lot of people, prompting Harry via his spokesperson to release a statement explaining that:
“[Prince Harry] will wear a morning suit throughout 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.”
But evidently people were still pissed, especially since… well… it’s obviously not a good look if Prince Andrew, accused of sex crimes and having to pay millions to settle his sexual assault and trafficking case, can be swaggering around out here in his uniform. But not Prince Harry who served for ten years, including two tours in Afghanistan, and then fell in love and decided to build a life with his wife and their children outside the royal circus?
It would seem that the Firm could not ignore the criticism.
ð”ððƒð€ð“ð„: In a dramatic u-turn, palace officials have informed Prince Harry that he CAN wear his military uniform at a final vigil. On Saturday evening, Harry will join seven other grandchildren at Westminster Hall to stand in silence for 15 minutes by the Queenâ€™s coffin.— Omid Scobie (@scobie) September 15, 2022
The reversalâ€”first reported by The Mirrorâ€”follows Harryâ€™s statement saying his â€œmilitary service is not determined by the uniform he wearsâ€, but it is understood the Palace caved to public sentiment after thousands complained about the decision to ban him and not Prince Andrew.— Omid Scobie (@scobie) September 15, 2022
UPDATE: Palace confirm all eight grandchildren to stand vigil beside Queenâ€™s coffin on Sat eve. William (flanked by Zara and Peter) at the head, Harry (flanked by Beatrice and Eugenie) at the foot. Louise and James at the middle. At Charlesâ€™ request, brothers will be in uniform.— Omid Scobie (@scobie) September 16, 2022
The Daily Mirror was the first to report on the situation with a source saying that:
“Common sense has prevailed. 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.
It is important that the Queen’s grandchildren are all made to feel welcome and comfortable as they grieve their beloved grandmother together.”
The Daily Mirror has followed up their exclusive with another report that it was King Charles who “personally intervened” so that Harry could be in uniform with his brother and “spoke directly to both of his sons to convey his wish that they should both wear military uniforms during Saturday’s vigil” to honour the “Queen’s long held wish” for William and Harry to be in military attire as they pay tribute to her.
The Daily Mirror’s source then added that:
“It is of no surprise that the King intervened in this way. He has the utmost respect for both his sons and their dedication to their military careers. The Duke of Sussex will wear his uniform as a mark of respect for his beloved grandmother but also the Queen and country he served for a decade. All the family believe this is the just and right decision, of course.”
Ummmm…. OK. Like, sure, in the end it’s the right call – but why wasn’t it the FIRST call? They’re trying to polish up this mess now by making it sound like benevolent and sensible King Charles III has finally stepped in to set things right, but does that mean that other people made the initial decision to block Harry from uniform without his consent? And now he’s swooping in like a white knight to save the day?
I’m not sure he should be getting that kind of credit. This started with an unforced error – and there have been several unforced errors his week – by granting Andrew the exception but not Harry. Both exceptions should have happened at the same time, and the fact that they did NOT tells us that at some point, they were being petty with Harry and stupidly expected it to not blow up in their faces.
Which, of course, it did.
So this is where we are now – changing their minds and trying to take credit for changing their minds, like wrapping a bow around a piece of sh-t and selling it as a bar of gold.
And it’s embarrassing, frankly. Because London Bridge was supposed to be this precisely executed master plan that would help restore glory to the British monarchy with a showcase of pomp and circumstance, a Spectacular Spectacular! broadcast on the global stage, the likes of which we’ve never seen. Make no mistake, we’ve seen the spectacle, the coordination and the choreography on the main stage, and it is indeed impressive, but we’ve also seen the messes played out on the side stages distracting from the main stage, which is certainly not at all what they were hoping for.
What’s especially frustrating is that they’ve been here before. They’ve experienced this before – and they didn’t learn!
Remember when Princess Diana died, the Queen remained at Balmoral with Charles, William, and Harry and in the days that followed, overcome by grief (because Diana’s death was so sudden and so shocking and so f-cking tragic), the public became angrier and angrier at the monarch’s seeming unwillingness to join in the mourning.
It is impossible to understate how loudly the Queen was criticised at the time. And this didn’t happen often, people didn’t come for the Queen, they did not talk sh-t about her openly. But with Diana, it was loud. They called her insensitive, they brought up all the accusations about how Diana was mistreated by the royals, and they turned on Her Majesty.
The situation got so bad that the Queen was compelled to return to London early; to do a walkabout with Prince Philip outside Buckingham Palace; approve for the Union Jack flag to fly at half mast; broadcast a televised address to honour Diana; and sign off on a ceremonial funeral to appease the public. The Queen was even seen bowing her head when Diana’s coffin passed Buckingham Palace on its way to Westminster Abbey.
All of this happened because of public pressure.
So to go back to King Charles and the issue with Prince Harry, while the level of emotion over his uniform is absolutely not as charged as it was in the days following Diana’s death, my point is that this institution has already been through a situation where the public has questioned their decisions during a time of mourning – and that was BEFORE social media and 24-hour live news.
How could they have expected they would get away with banning Harry from uniform but not Andrew without a public outcry?!
Why aren’t they better at this? They’ve had so many chances?!
But there’s also another takeaway from this. It’s been made very clear, and even the British tabloids can’t fabricate an alternate narrative, that Harry accepted whatever decision had been made about his attire and that he was not the one who pushed for this. The public went to bat for Harry over Andrew, resulting in this reversal. They have been engaging in a campaign to discredit Harry through the UK tabloids and while it’s worked on *some* people, it hasn’t worked on nearly enough people. Even during King Charles’s first days on the throne, he still doesn’t have enough goodwill to be able to justify disrespecting his younger son. Because he shares that son with Diana. That is the eternal protection of a mother, that is the power Diana still holds.