Retired service personnel can wear their medals – but not their uniform – at official engagements once they have left the military.
Prince Harry was commissioned in 2006 and left the Army in 2015, having undergone two operational tours of Afghanistan twice in that time. In the Army he was known as ‘Captain Wales’.
But under the terms of the deal to step away from Royal duties, he will give up all military appointments. The announcement was made by Buckingham Palace on Saturday night.
His resignation from three honorary roles in the military will prevent him wearing uniform at public events such Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday at the cenotaph.
Lord West of Spithead, the former First Sea Lord, said: “The next time he [the Duke of Sussex] is at a military event he should be in civilian clothes because he is no longer involved with any military units. It is very unfortunate. It is very sad to be losing him from the military.”
Prince Harry’s highest profile military title was as Captain General of the Royal Marines, a role he was handed by the Queen in December 2017, succeeding the Duke of Edinburgh. He was also honorary Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington and honorary Commodore-in-Chief of The Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving Operations.
The Duke will still be able to wear his medals including an Operational Service medal for Afghanistan, but protocol prevents him wearing uniform. By contrast, the Duke of Cambridge, who did not serve in a conflict zone and has also retired from the Armed Forces, can wear his uniform because of his various military honorary appointments.
The decision made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to spend more time in north America and to quit as ‘senior’ Royals that was made on January 8 had caused alarm within the Royal Marines. It is not clear who will now take on the role of Captain General.
Lord West said: “A number of people in the Royal Marines had expressed concerns that they didn’t want a part-timer carrying out such an important role. It will be interesting to see who the next captain general will be. The Duke of Edinburgh took it very seriously and he was delighted to pass it on to Harry. The Royal Marines will be sad to see Harry go but they were not happy to have a Captain General who was going to be only part-time in the UK.”