While some branded this as a “petty” move by courtiers, or even an attempt to “humiliate” the Duke, several royal commentators made compelling arguments as to why it would not have been appropriate. One argument was that when working Royal Family members lay down wreaths, they are not doing it in a personal capacity, but instead doing it on behalf of others. For example, the Queen lays a wreath on behalf of the nation and, this year, Prince William laid one down on behalf of the RAF, while Princess Anne laid one on behalf of the Navy.
In this way, royals are never laying a wreath as a sign of their personal respect, but of the respect of the public or the organisations they represent.
This could have been the reason that Harry’s request for a personal wreath was denied.
What’s more, a royal expert pointed out that the Cenotaph is a public monument, so if Harry wanted to pay a personal respect he could have had a wreath laid at any time, it did not need to be part of an official ceremony.
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
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Last week, Ms Gripper read out a comment from Gemma at The Royal Edit on Instagram in which she spelled out this point.
She wrote: “I think it’s really important to remember that members of the Royal Family aren’t laying wreaths at the Cenotaph personally, but rather on behalf of others.
“For example, Her Majesty’s is on behalf of the nation, this year Prince William’s was on behalf of the RAF and Anne’s was on behalf of the Navy.
“So it wouldn’t make sense for Harry to have one laid for him personally ‒ it’s always for organisations or the public.
Prince William lay a wreath on behalf of the RAF this year
“The whole thing, the alleged request and then the reaction to it seems to be missing this quite important point.”
Mr Myers appeared to whole-heartedly agree with this, exclaiming: “Precisely!”
Ms Gripper added that Harry could have simply had a wreath laid separately to the official ceremony at the Cenotaph.
She said: “I think that if Harry wanted to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, it doesn’t have to be as part of that ceremony.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Remembrance Sunday last year
“The Cenotaph is there, it’s on a public road ‒ after the official ceremonies happen, people can lay wreaths.
“It is a public memorial and when I was in London a couple of weeks ago there was a wreath of sunflowers that someone had left there, which was beautiful.
“If he wanted to leave a wreath and pay a private respect he could have done so, but it didn’t need to be as part of that ceremony.”
However, several other listeners to the podcast had different views.
Ms Gripper read out several comments on their Instagram which were more sympathetic to Prince Harry, who released pictures of himself and Meghan Markle paying their respects at a Los Angeles cemetery on Remembrance Sunday.
One said: “Good for them, especially after Buckingham Palace refused to lay a wreath for them.”
Another wrote: “Why did the Royal Family feel the need to go public about denying Harry’s request ‒ to humiliate him?”
A third contributed: “I think [the photos are] appropriate when you consider the fact that courtiers wreath-blocked Harry.
“I sincerely believe the Royal Family is not so petty they would deny Harry a wreath, I think this is all the courtiers doing.”
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