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‘Ludicrous’ military uniform ban for Prince Harry overturned

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The Duke of Sussex has had to wear a morning suit at events marking his grandmother’s death, but will be allowed to don military dress for a vigil by her coffin – Max Mumby/Getty Images

The Duke of Sussex will wear military uniform as he mounts a vigil at the coffin of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, alongside his cousins.

The Duke will be given special dispensation to wear his uniform after the Duke of York was told he could do the same as a “final mark of respect” for the most personal of gestures.

The King, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and the Earl of Wessex will mount their own vigil at 7.30pm on Friday, standing in silence at the four sides of the catafalque in Westminster Hall.

All eight of the late Queen’s grandchildren – the Duke of Sussex, the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn – will reportedly form their own guard of honour on Saturday evening.

‘Common sense has prevailed’

A U-turn on the decision to allow Harry, as a non-working royal, to wear military uniform for the occasion is said to have been made after palace officials intervened on his behalf.

One royal source was quoted as saying: “Common sense has prevailed.

“It was a ludicrous situation, given the Duke of Sussex has served his country and is a highly respected member of the Armed Forces with everything he has done for veterans.

“It is important that the Queen’s grandchildren are all made to feel welcome and comfortable as they grieve their beloved grandmother together.”

A royal source confirmed that the decision was made without intervention from the Duke, who was prepared to wear whatever his grandmother had made plans for.

It was announced earlier this week that the Duke, who served for 10 years in the Army and did two tours of Afghanistan, would be denied the right to wear uniform at all ceremonial events during the mourning period.

His spokesman said he would “wear a morning suit throughout events honouring his grandmother”, insisting that his decade of military service “was not determined by the uniform he wears”.

At the state funeral on Monday, both the Dukes of Sussex and York will be in morning dress.

Their status as non-working royals was brutally underlined this week as they were excluded from royal salutes during the procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. They walked in suits, while others were in full military uniform.

The Duke of Sussex's status as a non-working royal was highlighted by him wearing a morning suit, while others such as his brother wore military dress - Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Duke of Sussex’s status as a non-working royal was highlighted by him wearing a morning suit, while others such as his brother wore military dress – Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

On Monday, the King and his three siblings mounted their first vigil at the Queen’s coffin, walking together up the aisle of St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh before dividing, each taking a side to honour their mother.

Choosing not to hold swords, they stood with hands clasped and eyes lowered, their backs to the coffin.

The Princess Royal became the first woman to take part in such a vigil.

As members of the public who had queued for more than 12 hours to pay their respects filed past, many did a double take as they noticed the royals in their midst.

The Queen's children hold a vigil at St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh, on Monday - Jane Barlow/Getty Images

The Queen’s children hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral, in Edinburgh, on Monday – Jane Barlow/Getty Images

On Friday, once again many people will find themselves paying their respects alongside the King, while on Saturday, others will be surprised to find themselves in the company of the late Queen’s grandchildren – including the heir to the throne.

Both vigils will mark the final ceremonial duties performed by the late Queen’s children and grandchildren in public before the funeral on Monday.

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