The One Thing Harry Isn't Allowed to Do at Prince Philip's Funeral, Sources Say

Diane Clehane
·6-min read

Prince Harry has returned to England for the first time in over a year to attend the funeral service for his grandfather, Prince Philip. Though he's currently quarantining at Frogmore Cottage, there are sure to be plenty of uncomfortable moments when he comes face to face with Prince Charles and Prince William later this week. Harry's comments last month during his interview with Oprah Winfrey about his father and brother being "trapped" within the monarchy only widened the gap between them. Several sources have told Best Life the men will keep up appearances out of respect for Queen Elizabeth and the late Duke of Edinburgh. "Her Majesty expects the family to put any differences aside at the funeral [which is going to be televised] now," one royal source said of the April 17 service. "The feelings of hurt and anger that still exist between the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge will most certainly not be evident during the service. The Queen expects a united front to show the family has come together at this sad time."

However, there is a major way the differences between Harry, William, and Charles could very well be on display. Due to Harry and Duchess Meghan's official exit agreement, there is one thing Harry technically won't be allowed to do at the funeral for Philip. Read on to find out how Harry will still appear very much apart from his father and brother, and for another update from the Sussexes, check out The One Thing Harry&Meghan Must Do Now That Philip Has Died, Sources Say.

What the men wear could be a clear sign marking Harry apart from William and Charles.

Whatever truce may be reached behind the scenes before the funeral, on the day of, there will be a very obvious sign that will mark Harry apart from his father and brother. The Daily Mail reports that since the Queen permanently removed Harry's honorary military titles and positions last month after he and Meghan announced they will not be returning as senior royals, the prince cannot wear any of his military uniforms. He had held the titles of Captain General of the Royal Marines; Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington in Bury St Edmunds; and Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command.

William, Charles, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, are expected to follow royal protocol and be in regimental dress. (Prince Andrew, who stepped back from public life in 2019 after his disastrous BBC interview where he attempted to explain his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, will wear a black suit.) According to several reports, Harry will wear a suit—possibly one that belonged to his grandfather—for the ceremony. He will, however, be permitted to wear his medals as he did he when he and Meghan visited Los Angeles National Cemetery in California on Remembrance Day in London in Nov. 2020 after his request to have a wreath laid in his name at the ceremony in London was denied.

And for more on the relationship between Harry, William, and Charles, check out The One Way William and Charles "Underestimated" Harry, Says Insider.

Not wearing a military uniform is a painful reminder of what Harry has lost.

Harry's inability to be in uniform for his grandfather's funeral is a stark reminder of his bitter disappointment at losing his military titles when he and Meghan departed for North America in March 2020. Just last month, Best Life reported that friends of Harry said the prince "would fight" to get his titles back upon the one-year review of the Sussexes' exit agreement, but that did not happen.

"Finding his place as a soldier was a defining moment in [Harry's] life," a source said at the time. "He feels most comfortable in that role." Another insider said that "in the end, Harry paid a high price for his freedom," suggesting that he "regrets giving up one of the things that means the most to him—his military affiliations."

A royal source reiterated that recently, telling Best Life, "Of all the things [Harry] had to give up, losing his military titles was a devastating blow. This is such a painful reminder of that."

And for more royals news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Harry and Prince Philip shared a bond over their military service.

Insiders imagine it must be particularly upsetting to the prince that he cannot wear the uniform of Captain General of the Royal Marines, a title passed on to him by his grandfather. Though Philip had always been a major influence in Harry's life, their connection grew even deeper when Harry chose to enter the military. "Philip could see how Harry had found his place in the army," a royal insider previously told Best Life. "He was impressed with Harry's dedication and commitment to serving his country."

In 2017, after serving as Captain General of the Royal Marines for 64 years, Prince Philip gave the title to Harry. The Duke of Edinburgh took the position over from the Queen's father, King George VI. Harry retained the role for less than two years.

And for more on how Philip felt about Harry's departure last year, check out Prince Philip Went From "Furious to Deeply Saddened" Over Prince Harry.

William may offer a sartorial solution at Philip's funeral.

According to The Sun, Prince William may be offering Harry a sartorial olive branch. The outlet is reporting William has decided to forego dressing in uniform and will wear a black suit to avoid a stark visual contrast between him and his younger brother. Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told the outlet: "This is obviously very sensitive. Anything that distinguished the brothers in that way, which would be so obvious for anyone watching, would probably be avoided."

William made a similar gesture in March 2020 at Commonwealth Services at Westminster Abbey when he and Duchess Catherine decided to take their seats before the processional with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. It was reported that Harry and Meghan were very upset after being left out of the processional at their last official event as senior royals. William offered to be seated with the rest of the family rather than walk in with the Queen and his father as per royal protocol.

And for more on the relationship between the family and Meghan, check out The Royals Made This One "Fateful Mistake" With Meghan, Says Insider.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.