Servicemen were shocked to see Prince Harry in full uniform and sporting a beard at the Cenotaph as the British Army forbids all facial hair.
Prince Harry left military service two years ago to concentrate on official duties and charity work but when wearing the Blues and Royals officer uniform he is expected to abide by regulations. One serving member of the cavalry regiment said: ‘Prince Harry is letting us all down. There’s no place for beards in the Queen’s cavalry.
He should have shaved it off for such an important day.’ Prince William, Prince Andrew and the Prince Charles all were clean shaven for the service, which is seen as one of the most important dates in the Royal diary.
The British Army is one of the last bastions in society which has refused to relent on its anti-facial hair stance in the face of the beard’s unlikely comeback in the last five years. Only if a soldier or officer has a skin complaint or are a practising Sikh can they have a beard. However, fans of Prince Harry soon took to social media to defend him against criticism.
Many cited his charity work and his successful launch of the Invictus Games for wounded military personnel. Mark Abrahams tweeted: ‘Prince Harry didn’t shave his beard for the Cenotaph ceremony today. Let’s face it, it’s hardly the worse thing he’s done. We have bigger problems in the world.’ And the question of whether Prince Harry had let down the nation, the military or himself was even debated by people in other countries.
The Blues and Royals is one of the most prestigious regiments in the military, the Queen is Colonel-in-chief, and it can trace back its history to the days of Oliver Cromwell’s 17th Century New Model Army. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence told MailOnline: ‘On background I can confirm that Prince Harry is no longer a serving officer and therefore does not have to comply with any of these regulations.
‘He is, however, a member of the Royal Family and at times his duties require him to don the uniform of a tied or associated regiment and does so with a beard, as did his great-great-grandfather before him.’
It is not the first time the Prince’s ginger facial follicles have hit the headlines, only last month he was voted as having the world’s sexiest beard. A survey of 1,000 people by Manchester’s hair transplant centre Crown Clinic placed the Prince above Hollywood stars Ryan Gosling and Idris Elba.