Prince Harry’s Request to Have Wreath Laid at London Remembrance Day Ceremony Turned Down by Palace
During Sunday’s ceremony, his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William were among those leaving solemn tributes
In fact, there was a wreath ready and waiting for him — the official organizers of the event, which honors those who have been killed and wounded in war, had created a display and set it aside for Harry.
But courtiers and palace officials decided that he couldn’t have his wreath added to those from other members of the royal family because he and Meghan Markle are no longer working members of the institution. The couple, who went ahead with their own memorial ceremony at a Los Angeles cemetery on Sunday, stepped back from being frontline royals in March.
Harry “understands that he doesn’t have the same formal role in the family as he used to,” a source close to him tells PEOPLE. “But he was saddened and disappointed by the decision.”
Karwai Tang/WireImage Prince Harry
PEOPLE confirmed Sunday that Harry, who served in the Army for 10 years, rising to the rank of Captain and undertaking two tours of duty in Afghanistan, had asked for the wreath to be placed at the London memorial on his behalf, as he was not able to be in the U.K.
Lee Morgan Prince Harry lays his own wreath at a cemetery in L.A. on Sunday.
As the story continued to unfold in the U.K. on Monday, The Sun published a picture of the wreath, which lay unused in a factory in Kent during yesterday’s official ceremony headed by Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.
Prince William and Prince Charles were among the royals who left tributes to the fallen at the Cenotaph.
Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince William laying his wreath on Sunday
Harry and Meghan, 39, went ahead with their own ceremony more than 5,000 miles away in Los Angeles early on Sunday. In a private ceremony at the National Cemetery, the couple placed flowers picked from their garden in Santa Barbara, Calif., at the gravesites of two soldiers who fought for Commonwealth armed forces — one who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force and one from the Royal Canadian Artillery.
Lee Morgan Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
They also placed a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery that features a plaque that's inscribed, "In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives in Defense of Their Country."
Over the weekend, Harry told the Declassified podcast that he continues the British tradition of wearing a poppy in tribute to veterans and for “the soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn't. The soldiers who were by my side in Afghanistan, those who had their lives changed forever, and those that didn't come home.”
It was previously announced that Harry will retain the ranks of Major, Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader during a 12-month trial period following the couple's exit from their roles as senior members of the royal family. However, his honorary military positions will not be used.
“The military was a part of his upbringing and his life. He brought a lot to those guys and understood things. It is sad,” a palace insider previously told PEOPLE.