Meghan and Harry accused of ‘making it about themselves’ on Remembrance Day

Prince Harry and Meghan at military awards veterans gala

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will miss Remembrance Day in the UK, instead paying their respects at a Veterans day ceremony in New York. Harry and Meghan attended the 2021 Salute to Freedom Gala at the Intrepid Museum in the Big Apple last night. Harry wore his military medals and the cross of the Knight Commander of Royal Victorian Order, while Meghan wore a red gown, and both adorned their outfits with a poppy.

The Duke presented Intrepid Valor Awards to five military personnel “living with the invisible wounds of war”.

Harry served in the military for a decade, including two tours of Afghanistan, and spoke of the impact his experiences have had on the man he is today.

He said: “I served 10 years in the military, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan — one as an FAC (Forward Air Controller) on the ground and in the dust with some of you, another as an Apache helicopter pilot in the air supporting and talking with you.

“Nothing was more valuable than the time I got to spend with my soldiers in a shell scrape, eating an MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) in the back of a tank, thanks for the swaps, flying a mission overhead knowing those below were safer, or making each other laugh when it was needed most.

“My experience in the military made me who I am today, and I will always be grateful for the people who I got to serve with — wherever in the world we were.”

The Sussexes paid their respects last year by laying a wreath and flowers at an obelisk to commemorate two fallen Commonwealth soldiers.

Meghan wore a black wool coat and Harry a blue suit with his Army medals.

They released a series of photographs afterwards.

Pod Save The Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper, and she is joined by the Mirror’s royal editor Russell Myers. 

Ms Gripper read out listener comments which branded the photographs “staged” and “cringeworthy”.

Others, however, defended the Sussexes, saying it was appropriate and respectful given that Harry is a veteran himself.

Mr Myers said the sheer number of photographs had left him “shocked” and suggested that they could have just taken a picture of their backs, and another of the wreath they laid.

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He said: “Perhaps they shouldn’t have been in the photos.

“If you’d just had their backs and another picture of the wreath they’d laid, I think that would have been appropriate.

“It’s just, I think, the criticism labelled at them, saying that once again had been made about themselves is a case to answer, unfortunately. Because I was just shocked at the number of photographs that were then put out to the world’s media.”

Former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan labelled the images a “distasteful PR stunt” at the time.

His co-host Susanna Reid, however, disagreed: “The armed forces mean a lot to Prince Harry.

“He served 10 years. He was blocked, allegedly, from having a wreath in his name placed at the Cenotaph. Why wouldn’t he want to show his respect when he has such a strong connection to the military?”

She added: “If you don’t do it with a photographer, people don’t know that you’ve done it.”

Buckingham Palace reportedly denied Harry’s request to have a wreath laid for him at the service in Whitehall.

However, Ms Gripper pointed out on Pod Save The Queen that Harry could have separately arranged to have a wreath laid on his behalf as the Cenotaph is a public monument, it did not need to be part of the official ceremony.

She said: “The Cenotaph is there, it’s on a public road — after the official ceremonies happen, people can lay wreaths.”

She added: “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.”

While coronavirus restrictions at the time would have made it difficult for Harry to attend, he could have asked someone to lay one for him in his absence.

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