Military family ‘one of the most important things to Harry’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery (PA Media)
16:45pm, Mon 09 Nov 2020
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The Duke of Sussex’s military family is one of the most important things to him and always will be, people close to Harry have said.

They denied accusations that Harry and the Duchess of Sussex’s private visit to Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday was a publicity stunt after the duke was refused his wish for a wreath to be placed on his behalf at the Cenotaph in London.

Those close to Harry said he was not the sort of person to make a stunt out of a Remembrance event, particularly having personally known fellow service personnel who died.

Remembrance Sunday (PA Media)

“If you listen to the podcast that he did at the weekend, he talks about wearing the poppy and wanting to recognise Remembrance Sunday, not only for all those people historically, but also for the people he knew that he lost,” they said.

“I don’t think that’s someone who does something like Remembrance Sunday as a publicity stunt.

“It’s probably not surprising that having served on the front line, having done tours of duty, having been in the military for 10 years, having created Invictus, supported Walking with the Wounded and all others, that the military community, the military family, is probably one of the most important things to the duke and will always be so.”

Prince Harry tour of duty in Afghanistan (PA Archive)

Harry was photographed with Meghan placing flowers in memory of two fallen Commonwealth soldiers in LA on Sunday.

The Sussexes also laid a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery that features a plaque inscribed “In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives In Defence Of Their Country”.

The images were captured by Lee Morgan, who specialises in fashion and celebrity portraits.

It is understood that Harry was disappointed when staff in the Royal Household declined his request for a poppy tribute to be left in his name during the scaled-back national service in central London attended by the Queen and other royals.

Harry is thousands of miles away in California, having stepped down from royal duties in March for a new life in the US.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.

Remembrance Sunday (PA Wire)

The duke spent a decade in the forces and carried out two frontline tours to Afghanistan.

His honorary military titles – Captain General of the Royal Marines, Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington, and Honorary Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Naval Commands’ Small Ships and Diving – were put on hold following “Megxit”.

They will be examined in March next year as part of the monarchy’s 12-month review of the Sussexes’ departure arrangements.

Harry is not allowed to take any particular role using those titles at present, but they have not yet been handed to other members of the royal family.

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