Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding this weekend broke with tradition in several ways: from Prince Charles walking the bride-to-be down the aisle, to the decision on the groom’s part to wear a wedding ring. But one you might not have realised was also the most visible: Harry’s choice to keep his beard for the nuptials.
Traditionally, royal grooms have been clean shaven, with none in recent memory sporting a beard. What’s more, when you’re dressed in army uniform as Harry was, (he wore the frockcoat of the Blues and Royals), you’re expected to maintain a close shave, unless you have specific skin complaints or religious reasons for needing to grow facial hair.
A statement from Kensington Palace confirmed that the Queen had given Harry permission to wear his uniform, despite being out of active service. It’s thought this extends to his beard, too: ‘Her Majesty The Queen gave her permission for Prince Harry to get married in his uniform.’
The last hirsute royal groom was George V, the Queen’s grandfather. He had a full beard when he married his bride Mary of Teck.
Harry’s uniform also revealed something previously unknown: that he was promoted to the rank of major before leaving the army three years ago in 2015.