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The wayward Duke of Sussex asked for a poppy wreath be laid at the Cenotaph in his absence. The request was rejected by courtiers, reportedly because the Duke is no longer a working royal. Now Robert Lacey, royal expert and author of Battle of Brothers, which detailed tensions between Harry and Prince William, has claimed the rejection shows the extent of the distance between Harry and the Royal Family.
Speaking to Newsweek, Mr Lacey claimed that Harry is now seen as “expendable” by William and Prince Charles after stepping down from royal duties earlier this year.
He said: “I think this is an indication that things are worse than we thought.
“If everything was hunkydorey there seems no reason why a wreath should not have been laid in Harry’s name.
“If the royal family or the palace wanted to co-operate then it would seem to be a perfectly reasonable request to make that could have been fulfilled.
“I don’t think it augur’s well for the prospects of a reconciliation.”
Mr Lacey then added the gesture signalled Harry’s willingness to fix the broken relationship with William and the Royal Family, and the rejection doesn’t bode well for chances of a reconciliation.
He added: “On the face of this, it would seem that Harry is keener on reconciliation or maintaining some sort of link than the palace is to granting one.”
It remains unclear whether Queen Elizabeth II or any other member of the Royal Family were part of the decision to snub Harry’s wreath.
The wreath is now in storage at the Royal British Legion’s Kent HQ.
The author added Harry still appears to want to keep his military titles afforded to him through his royal status.
Rumours have started that Harry will lose his ceremonial position of Captain General of the Royal Marines, which has been kept open since him and Meghan Markle stepped back from royal duties in March.
Mr Lacey added: “From everything we know it’s clear Harry would like to keep his military titles and connections.
“This would seem to be a sign that’s not going to be possible.”
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Harry served for ten years in the armed forces, with the Duke deployed on two tours of Afghanistan and earning the rank of Major.
William and Charles, who laid wreaths on the Cenotaph on Sunday, were part of the military but never saw active duty.
William was a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot and Charles captained a Royal Navy coastal minesweeper, HMS Bronington, in the early 1970s, but neither were sent to the front lines.
Royal tradition sees direct heirs to the throne avoid active service to preserve their lives should they take throne, whereas Harry is sixth in line and is unlikely to become monarch.
Harry and Meghan paid tribute to fallen soldiers in the US, at a private ceremony in Los Angeles National Cemetery.
Images, snapped by hired photographer Lee Morgan, showed the Sussex in black attire as they laid wreathes at an intimate ceremony away from the royals.
Mr Lacey said of the pictures: “We’ve seen the pictures of Harry and Meghan doing the homage on their own.
“They are sad, almost tragic. They’ve clearly been issued as part of the ongoing battle between the Sussexes and the palace.”
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