Prince Harry Won’t Wear His Military Uniform to Hand Out Medals to Veterans

His military titles were stripped after he left royal duties, though some have argued his service record should qualify.

london, england march 07 prince harry, duke of sussex and meghan, duchess of sussex arrive to attend the mountbatten music festival at royal albert hall on march 7, 2020 in london, england photo by simon dawson wpa poolgetty images
(Image credit: WPA Pool)

Later this week, Prince Harry will be in New York for a very good cause: On November 10, he’ll appear on the Intrepid warship to hand out medals to five U.S. military veterans, as part of the Salute to Freedom gala. It makes perfect sense that Harry would be tapped to do this, as his record of both service and support of veterans is a highlight of his charitable work. But he won’t be allowed to wear his uniform when he hands out these medals—and it’s causing a bit of a controversy.

Harry has been a long-time vocal supporter of military veterans, having served in the British Army himself for ten years, where he rose to the rank of Captain and did two tours to Afghanistan. He also founded the Invictus Games, a sporting event for wounded, injured, and sick service members to support recovery, inspiration, and “generate a wider understanding and respect for all of those who serve their country.”

But despite this record, at the Salute to Freedom gala he’ll be clad in a black suit to hand out the medals, as he is not allowed to wear his uniform since stepping away from royal duties last year. As part of the move to the U.S. and out of the royal spotlight, Harry was stripped of his honorary royal titles including Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington in Suffolk, Commodore-in-Chief, Small Ships and Diving, Royal Naval Command, and Captain-General of the Royal Marines, which according to the Daily Mail was handed down to him from Prince Philip. The publication reported that sacrificing the titles was part of the deal he and Meghan made in order to leave royal duties, though he had reportedly negotiated to try and keep them (a plan that was eventually struck down).

Not everyone thinks he should be kept out of uniform, though. Charles Rae, a former royal correspondent, argued on GB News that Harry’s military experience should be enough to allow him to wear the uniform, according to Express UK:

“Now I'm surprised [that] Harry is going to not wear the uniform in America because he's not representing the Queen and to be fair to the lad he has served twice... he is a former soldier. He's done a great deal of work with soldiers who are recovering from injuries they got while serving, and I see no reason why he should not be wearing his uniform for this event in America where he's handing out medals to American servicemen."

A spokesman for the Duke did not comment when the Daily Mail reached out.