Prince Harry: why is Duke not wearing uniform at King Charles III coronation - what is a non-working royal?

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Harry - relegated to the third row of guests at the ceremony - instead wore a morning suit

King Charles III’s coronation saw an appearance from Prince Harry, though he did not don a typical military uniform for the much awaited reunion with his brother Prince William at the ceremony. A morning suit was instead worn by the Duke for the Westminster Abbey liturgy, and he will play no official part in the coronation after his resignation as a senior royal in January 2020.

Like Harry, Prince Andrew is also no longer a working member of the royal family, and similarly was seen without a military uniform, but what are the reasons behind this? Here is everything you need to know about it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What is a ‘non-working’ royal?

Active or working members of the royal family are typically those who carry out official engagements on behalf of the monarchy. They are involved in various public engagements, represent the King and the royal family at home and abroad, and support charitable organisations and causes.

Active members often receive public funding through the Sovereign Grant to support their official duties. The most prominent working members include the reigning monarch (currently King Charles III), the heir apparent (currently Prince William), and the heir’s immediate family (such as his wife Catherine, and their children). Other members who carry out official duties include the King’s siblings and their families, such as Princess Anne and Prince Edward.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends the Coronation of King Charles III (Photo: Richard Pohle  - WPA Pool/Getty Images)Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends the Coronation of King Charles III (Photo: Richard Pohle  - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends the Coronation of King Charles III (Photo: Richard Pohle - WPA Pool/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“Non-working” members - a term sometimes informally used by the media, and not one officially used or defined by the royal household - generally refers to individuals who are not full-time working royals or who have chosen to step back from official royal duties.

This may include certain members who are further down the line of succession or those who have retired from active royal duties. Non-working members may still carry out occasional engagements or represent the royal family on specific occasions, but their involvement is typically more limited.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Why is Prince Andrew not a working royal?

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, stepped back from his royal duties in May 2020, after his association with Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, raised significant public scrutiny and controversy. As a result of this controversy, Prince Andrew’s public engagements and official duties were significantly reduced or put on hold.

In November 2019, Prince Andrew gave a BBC interview addressing his relationship with Epstein, which received widespread criticism and led to his decision to withdraw from official duties for the foreseeable future. The interview was widely perceived as damaging to both Prince Andrew’s reputation and the reputation of the monarchy.

Following the interview, Prince Andrew issued a statement indicating that he would step back from his public duties “for the foreseeable future” and expressed regret over his association with Epstein. He stated that he was willing to cooperate with any appropriate law enforcement agency if required.

Why is Prince Harry not a working royal?

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex chose to step back from their roles as working members of the royal family - commonly referred to as “Megxit” - in early 2020. They cited several reasons for their decision, including a desire for financial independence, the need for a more private life away from intense media scrutiny, and their wish to pursue their own charitable endeavours.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They expressed a desire to carve out a new role within the royal family that would allow them to focus on their personal goals while still supporting the causes and organisations they care about. Following their decision, Queen Elizabeth II issued a statement supporting their desire for a more independent life and confirmed that they would no longer undertake official duties on behalf of the royal family.

It was agreed that there would be a transition period during which the details of their new roles, funding arrangements, and security arrangements would be worked out. Since stepping back, Prince Harry and Meghan have relocated to the United States and have embarked on various projects and initiatives, including the establishment of their nonprofit organisation, Archewell, and signing multi-year deals with streaming platforms for producing documentaries and other content.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.