Prince Philip died at the age of 99 on Friday and for the last few days, the royal family has been preparing for his funeral which is happening on Saturday. Today Prince William and Prince Harry released statements honouring their grandfather. William’s was first:
Harry’s statement followed a short time later:
Prince Harry, who is currently in the U.K. at Frogmore Cottage ahead of Saturdayâ€™s funeral, has written a tribute to grandfather Prince Philip on behalf of him and his family: pic.twitter.com/9jYEMyf7ur— Omid Scobie (@scobie) April 12, 2021
Both lovingly made note of Prince Philip’s sense of humour and infamous reputation for being impatient and unpredictable but the difference in their personal style is pretty obvious here. William, obviously, since he’s the heir, probably has to be more formal in his remarks while Harry, who doesn’t have the same obligation, is much more casual, colloquial, and intimate – a tribute to a grandpa who happened to be royal but not royal first, at least not the way Harry saw him.
As you see, Harry ends on “Per Mare, Per Terram”, or “by sea, by land”, the motto of the Royal Marines. This is one of the key ways that Prince Philip and Harry bonded, through their military commitment, with both having served on the front lines. So, as we approach the funeral then, this is something to keep an eye on.
Earlier this year, when it was made permanent and official that Harry and Meghan would not be returning as senior members of the British royal family, they took back Harry’s military titles, which was likely what hurt the most. Because he has spent over a decade honouring military contributions and repping veterans and service people, and because, well, he did the work. He was a soldier.
But at the funeral, he will not be able to dress in military attire to honour his grandfather. And remember, Harry succeeded Philip as Captain General of the Royal Marines from 2017 until he stepped away from royal duty. This would be precisely one of those occasions where he would have wanted to put on the uniform – and he won’t be able to wear it…
But keep an eye on whether or not the British tabloids get dirty about this (especially if Prince Andrew is allowed to wear his; it was reported today that both Harry and Andrew will be in suits, and that equivalent in itself is a problem since, well, it’s not like their situations are the same). Already the British tabloid press has been at it with all kinds of Harry speculation – are they going to seat him at the back?! – and I wouldn’t be surprised if they shame him for not being able to be in uniform, and he’ll eat that alone unless someone in his family stands up for him.
There is some hope that Harry being back in England for the first time in over a year, and on this somber family occasion, will lead to healing. That’s certainly what everyone wants, and they’ve been trained for these situations in particular to keep up appearances, but realistically there’s also a lot of opportunity to reaggravate wounds behind the scenes. More on this as we get deeper into the week.