Many people up and down the country will have spent the day transfixed to the TV, watching as the Royal Family bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II. So far, we've discovered the secret meaning behind the flowers on Her Majesty's coffin, the reassuring gesture Kate Middleton made towards Princess Charlotte and the moving moment Meghan Markle wiped away tears – but there's still more to discuss when it comes to this historic event.
Ahead of the funeral, the Queen's children and a handful of her grandchildren performed a salute outside Westminster Abbey. But, unlike his brother Prince William, Prince Harry did not salute, instead keeping his arms by his sides. It wasn't long before royal fans took to social media to ask why, and the answer is all to do with the Duke of Sussex's standing within the Royal Family.
To recap, last week it was announced that Prince Harry would not be wearing military uniform to the Queen's funeral, despite having spent a decade in the army and undertaking two tours of Afghanistan. This is because only working members of the Royal Family are permitted to do so, meaning Prince Andrew – who was stripped of his titles – would also be required to wear a mourning suit instead of military uniform.
Although Harry was later granted special permission to wear military uniform to the grandchildren's vigil to the Queen, the same can not be said for his right to military salute. To understand why, let's take a look at the meaning behind a salute.
Saluting is a military custom by which a soldier signals acknowledgement of the due respect to a superior rank. In this case, members of the Royal Family are saluting to Her Majesty, who was the head of the armed forces and served as their Commander-in-Chief. However, although Prince Harry was in the military, he waved goodbye to military practices when he stepped back from his role as a senior royal, meaning he was unable to salute alongside his family members during the Queen's funeral.
Last week, Prince Harry released a statement about his grandmother's passing and referenced the strong bond they shared as well as the respect he had for her from a military perspective. "Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings – from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren," he said.
"I cherish these times shared with you, and the many other special moments in between. You are already sorely missed, not just by us, but by the world over. And as it comes to first meetings, we now honour my father in his new role as King Charles III."
Our thoughts are with all those mourning Her Majesty at this emotional time.
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