The Real Story Behind the Royals Wearing Suits at Prince Philip’s Funeral (& No, It Wasn’t Harry’s Fault)

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editor@purewow.com (PureWow)
·3 min read
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On the occasion of Prince Philip’s funeral, for the most part, family drama (ahem, the fallout from the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) was set aside. But there was one topic still giving the world pause: Was Prince Harry the reason the royal family wore morning suits versus traditional military attire?

According to Omid Scobie, author of Finding Freedom and co-host of ABC’s The Heirpod podcast, the answer is quite simple: No.

Scobie dropped by the Royally Obsessed podcast this week to discuss the funeral and also explain what really happened with “Suit Gate,” aka reports that Prince Andrew had expressed a desire to wear a Navy admiral’s uniform in honor of his father despite the fact that his rank was actually deferred after he stepped back from public duties in 2019 due to his connection with the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. (Prince Harry was stripped of his honorary military titles after stepping back from his role as a senior member of the royal family in early 2020, causing many to speculate that he was the reason military uniforms were skipped.)

But that wasn’t the case, according to Scobie. “It was my first question to a source close to Harry before he had even come over [to the U.K.]—has much thought gone into dress for the occasion? I think pretty much from the get-go, everyone who was going was under the impression that it would be normal morning suits rather than military uniform.”

Still, not long after, a report broke in the Daily Mail that the choice of funeral attire was an issue for one family member in particular. “There was a story that Prince Andrew had wanted to wear a specific uniform—not just uniform—for a rank that he didn’t technically belong to,” Scobie explains. “Of course, he’s sort of unofficially retired as a senior working member of the royal family, although he hasn’t lost his military honors. I don’t think there was anyone sort of rushing to want him to flex them on a day like Saturday.”

That’s where Prince Harry inadvertently entered the conversation. “I think many people wondered if it was Harry that had something to do with putting his foot down, saying that he wanted to wear ceremonial dress for the occasion, but it just wasn’t the case,” Scobie says.

Regardless, whoever had final say on the decision about funeral attire nipped it in the bud. “I doubt that it would have come from the queen herself, but whoever at the Lord Chamberlain’s office who would have dealt with that would have made it pretty clear that everyone does the same thing,” Scobie explains. “I think it worked well. It felt like there was a uniform to the day anyway; those with military backgrounds had their medals and we saw the royal family members all pretty much in the same look for the day. I think that helped not to detract from what the focus was on, which was of course the procession, the Land Rover, the naval cap, the sword—those are the moments that people should have been looking at and were.”

Case closed.

For more from Omid Scobie, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.

Listen to the full podcast below.

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