Why does Princess Anne wear military uniform to the Queen’s funeral
Some members of the royal family wore military uniforms despite not serving in the military. Others who served were not allowed to wear the uniform.
WASHINGTON — At Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, several members of the royal family donned official military uniforms to pay their respects.
Members of the royal family who are given titles and offices on behalf of the crown are permitted to wear their military uniforms at ceremonial occasions, such as state funerals.
For some who served in the military, like the newly crowned King Charles III, uniform is a traditional choice.
But other family members still wore military uniforms and medals despite never having served or having been stripped of their military titles. Here’s why.
King Charles III
The King wore his official military dress to many events in remembrance of his mother, and wore the full set of regalia for her wake and funeral.
Charles served in the Royal Air Force and, in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and two great-grandfathers, in the Royal Navy.
In the Air Force, Charles trained as a jet pilot. He gave up flying after a crash landing in 1994, for which the plane’s crew was found negligent by an internal review.
In the Navy, Charles served on a guided-missile destroyer and several frigates before taking command of a coastal minehunter in 1976, less than a year before leaving the military.
As king, Charles is able to grant and take away privileges from other members of the royal family, including the right to wear military uniforms.
Princess Anne was seen at events throughout the week leading up to the funeral in ceremonial Royal Navy uniform.
She never served in the Royal Navy, or any other branch of the British Armed Forces. But like many members of the royal family, she holds a number of honorary military titles.
Anne was appointed Rear Admiral in 1993 and was promoted to Vice Admiral in 2009 before becoming Admiral in 2012. So, although symbolic, she holds a rank in the British Navy.
She is also a General in the British Army and an Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force, and has a number of other titles across the British Commonwealth.
The Duke of York is perhaps the most controversial member of the royal family to don a uniform for his mother’s services.
Earlier this year he was stripped of his patronages and military titles by the Queen after being accused of sexual assault by Virginia Giuggre, who also accused Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew’s association with Epstein, a sex trafficker who allegedly provides services to the rich and powerful, sparked outrage when it came to light.
He denied Giuffre’s sexual assault claim in the United States, but settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Andrew served in the Royal Navy as a helicopter pilot and instructor and as a captain of a naval vessel.
Although his military titles had been revoked and he was no longer a “royal worker”, his brother King Charles gave him permission to wear uniform during the Queen’s Vigil, despite having wore civilian clothes to the funeral itself.
Similar to Anne, Edward was also spotted in military uniform at several events honoring his mother in the week before her funeral despite never having served.
In 1986 Edward joined the Royal Marines after leaving university, but dropped out of the program four months later. Despite this, he still holds a number of military honours, including the title of Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
He is also Honorary Colonel Royal of the London Regiment, Colonel Royal of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles and Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Waddington.
Many in the UK criticized his many medals exposed because he dropped out of the 12-month basic training program.
Harry and his wife, Megan Markle, stepped down as senior members of the royal family in 2020 and moved to Southern California. Because he gave up his role as working royal under the crown, Harry subsequently lost all his military titles and the right to wear a military uniform at all services honoring the Queen.
Shortly after the Queen’s death was announced, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Duke of Sussex would not be allowed to wear a military uniform, despite being one of the only living family members. Royal to have been on active service.
At the time, it was also announced that Prince Andrew would be allowed in, although he also had no royal military titles.
But on the Thursday before the funeral, the palace officials seemed to have changed their minds.
Harry was finally allowed to wear his military uniform at a final vigil on Saturday. He joined his brother Prince William and other members of the Royal Family, to stand in silence for 15 minutes near the Queen’s coffin.
However, like Andrew, he was not allowed to wear his uniform to the funeral itself, as military dress is then reserved for serving members of the Royal Family.