PRINCE Harry was forced to deny that his Remembrance Sunday photoshoot with his wife Meghan Markle was a ‘publicity stunt’ following a backlash.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were pictured laying flowers at Los Angeles National Cemetery after The Times reported Buckingham Palace refused Harry’s request because he no longer represented the monarchy.
The Queen would not have been informed of her grandson’s request.
Harry, who now lives in California with his wife Meghan Markle, was reportedly very upset by the decision to reject his wish, The Times reported, as he has close ties to the military.
Instead, his crown was forgotten at Kent HQ of the Royal British Legion.
He was then pictured with his wife in Los Angeles, laying flowers picked from their garden at the graves of two Commonwealth soldiers – one from the Royal Australian Airforce and one from the Royals Canadian Artillery.
The couple laid an all-green poppyl-free wreath during their visit to the cemetery.
The images were captured by Lee Morgan, a famous fashion photographer who has worked with Kanye West and Vogue.
The couple were quickly criticized for the move, with Piers Morgan accusing them of using it as a “public relations opportunity”.
The Good Morning Britain host wrote on Twitter: ‘Simply outrageous – treating Remembrance Sunday as a public relations opportunity and trying to steal the headlines from the real royals doing their homework. ”
Responding to another post on social media, he added, “If they wanted to be ‘left alone’, they wouldn’t do daily PR stunts to get media attention. ”
Others echoed his comments online, with one person writing: ‘They are not royal. It shouldn’t be a photo op. ”
Harry’s relatives have defended the photos, saying the Duke of Sussex’s military family will always be one of the most important things to him.
I do not think so [Harry’s] someone doing something like Remembrance Sunday as a publicity stunt
A source close to Prince Harry
They also denied accusations that the visit to the cemetery was a publicity stunt.
“If you listen to the podcast he did on the weekend, he talks about wearing the poppy and wanting to recognize Remembrance Sunday, not only for all of these people historically, but also for the people he knew he had lost. », A relative of Harry said.
“I don’t think it’s someone doing something like Remembrance Sunday as a publicity stunt. ”
They added: “It is probably not surprising that having served on the front line, having carried out missions, having been in the military for 10 years, having created [the] Invictus [Games], argued March with the Wounded and everyone else, that the military community, the military family is probably one of the most important things to the Duke, and always will be. ”
Harry also laid a wreath on Remembrance Sunday, on which he allegedly wrote, “To all who have served and are serving. Thank you. “
The Duke has served for over 10 years and has been involved in promoting causes for veterans, including the Invictus Games.
He resigned his royal duties in March, but hoped to resume some of his military activities soon.
The decision not to allow a wreath to be laid in his name means that those hopes have suffered a serious setback.
Harry first laid a wreath at the cenotaph 11 years ago.
In a podcast that aired yesterday, Harry said, “I wear the poppy to recognize all who served, soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn’t know.
“The soldiers who were with me in Afghanistan, those whose lives changed forever and those who did not return home.
“I wear it to celebrate the courage and determination of all of our Veterans and their loved ones, especially those of our Invictus family.
“These are the people and the times I remember when I greet, when I stand at attention, and when I lay a wreath at the cenotaph.
During his time with the military, Harry rose to the rank of captain and undertook two tours of Afghanistan while in service.
On the podcast, the Duke also spoke of his own service which included two tours of Afghanistan.
He said, “When I am asked about this period in my life, I tap into my memories, I tap into what I remember and who I remember.
“Like the first time we were shot and who I was with, the victims we saw and those we saved. And the first medivac we escorted out of contact in a race against time.
“Once served, always at the service, no matter what.
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Prince Andrew did not attend the service amid controversy surrounding his friendship with disgraced pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on claims about Harry’s wish to have a wreath laid.
The Sun Online has reached out to Prince Harry’s representatives for comment.