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Why Princess Anne wore a military uniform, but Prince Harry didn't at the coronation

While the king's outfit was picked for him by tradition, the other members of the royal family have a more complicated dress code.

WASHINGTON — For the British royal family, there is a long and complicated history of fashion for important events. From Princess Diana's famous dresses to the proud military regalia on display for the Queen's funeral, there's a lot to unpack. 

Here's what different members of the royal family are wearing for the coronation and why. 

King Charles III

The new monarch of England was crowned at Westminster Abbey wearing the traditional coronation vestments, which include a series of garments woven from gold fabric.

The Supertunica, as the royal coat is called, was worn under the "Golden Imperial Mantle," a cloak made for King George IV in 1821. 

He also entered and exited wearing two different robes, one of crimson velvet and one made of purple silk velvet, embroidered in gold.

Credit: Andrew Matthews/Pool via AP
King Charles III wearing the St Edward's Crown during the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, in London, Saturday May 6, 2023.

Queen Camilla

Charles' wife entered the ceremony in a red robe matching the one worn by her husband. During the actual coronation, she wore a dress designed by Bruce Oldfield, a friend and frequent tailor for the royal family, according to The Independent

While the public knew who was designing her dress, the actual look itself was kept under wraps until the coronation. 

After the ceremony, Camilla wore a unique purple satin robe — the twin of the one Charles will exit wearing — stitched with a number of plants with various meanings. 

According to Buckingham Palace, these include Lily of the Valley, which was a favourite flower of Queen Elizabeth II; Myrtle, which represents hope; and Delphinium, one of King Charles' favourite flowers. 

Credit: AP
Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla during their coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London, Saturday May 6, 2023.(Yui Mok,Pool via AP)

Prince Harry 

Prince Harry attended the ceremony without his wife or two children. It was also the first time he's seen the rest of his family since releasing a not-so-flattering memoir, "Spare," that painted them in various unflattering lights. 

Prince Harry, who served two tours in Afghanistan, would traditionally in the past be fitted in a military uniform similar to that worn by other members of the royal family who have served. 

However, that isn't the case anymore since he quit his official duties with the royal family over intense scrutiny from the British media.

During the Queen's funeral, Buckingham Palace forbade him from wearing a military uniform (although they later took a half-step back, allowing him to wear the uniform to a vigil in her honor). 

At the coronation, the Duke of Sussex was wearing a black three-piece set of tails and military medals on his chest including a star around the neck that indicated he is the Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO).

MORE TOP NEWS: Why Prince Harry was seated 2 rows behind William and Kate at the coronation

Credit: Andy Stenning/Pool photo via AP
Prince Harry arrives for the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and Queen Consort in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Princess Anne

Anne is second child and only daughter of the late Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

At the Queen's funeral, she was seen in a Royal Navy ceremonial uniform and once again donned a military outfit for the coronation. 

Credit: Peter Tarry/Pool Photo via AP
Britain's Princess Anne arrives at Westminster Abbey for the coronation of King Charles III in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023.

After the ceremony, Anne followed Charles and Camilla's carriage on horseback serving as the "Gold-Stick-in-Waiting." 

She has never served in the Royal Navy, nor any other branch of the British armed forces. But like many royals, she holds a number of honorary military titles. 

Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super, Pool
Anne, Princess Royal, takes part in a procession following coronation ceremony for Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

Anne was made a Rear Admiral in 1993 and was promoted to Vice Admiral in 2009 before becoming an Admiral in 2012. So, although symbolic, she does hold a rank in the UK's Navy. 

She is also a General in the British Army and an Air Chief Marshal in the Royal Air Force, and has a number of other titles across the British Commonwealth. 

Credit: Peter Tarry/Pool Photo via AP
Prince Harry, centre, speaks with Anne, the Princess Royal in Westminster Abbey, ahead of the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla.

Prince Andrew

One of the most controversial royals, Prince Andrew was somewhat surprisingly allowed to wear ceremonial robes of the Order of the Garter to the coronation. 

In 2022, he was stripped of his military patronages and titles by the queen after being accused of sexual assault by Virginia Giuggre, who also accused Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew's association with Epstein, a sex trafficker reportedly providing services to the wealthy and powerful, caused an outrage when it came to light. 

He denied Giuffre's sexual assault claim in the U.S., but settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. 

Andrew served in the Royal Navy as a helicopter pilot and instructor and as the captain of a warship.

Despite having his military titles revoked and no longer being a "working royal," his brother, King Charles, gave him permission to wear the uniform during the queen's vigil, although he wore civilian clothes to the funeral itself. 

Credit: Toby Melville, Pool via AP
Britain's Prince Andrew leaves Westminster Abbey following the coronation ceremony of Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla.

According to Telegraph, the king's decision to let Prince Andrew wear the navy outfit suggests "a softening in approach" to dealing with his brother. 

Prince Edward

Similar to Anne, Edward was spotted in a military uniform at several of the events honoring his mother in the week leading up to her funeral despite never having served. 

During his older brother's coronation, Edward also wore a garter mantle similar to Prince Andrew. 

In 1986, Edward joined the Royal Marines after leaving university, but dropped out of the program four months later. Despite this, he still holds a number of military honors as a member of the royal family, including the title of Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. 

Credit: Pool via AP
Members of the royal family at King Charles' coronation.

He is also a Royal Honorary Colonel of the London Regiment, Royal Colonel of 2nd Battalion, The Rifles, and an Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Waddington.

Many in the UK criticized his numerous medals on display during the funeral last year because he dropped out of the 12-month basic training program.

Credit: Toby Melville, Pool via AP
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Prince Andrew leave Westminster Abbey following the coronation ceremony.

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