November 29, 2020

Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Visited an L.A. Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday

4 min read

Prince Harry and Meghan made a private visit to a Los Angeles cemetery Sunday to honor fallen soldiers and mark Remembrance Sunday in the U.K. A source close to the couple told ELLE.com, “It was important to the Duke and Duchess to be able to personally recognize Remembrance in their own way, to pay tribute to those who have served and to those who gave their lives.”

Meghan was dressed in an understated pleated custom wool satin faille Brandon Maxwell coat and belt, a favorite designer of the Duchess of Sussex and Michelle Obama. She accessorized with a red poppy and U.K.-based Jennifer Chamandi’s “Lorenzo” suede pumps, which retail for $715.

Meghan also appeared to be wearing her platinum $7,000 Cartier watch and a Carter LOVE bracelet. She’s worn a similar gold Cartier watch on several occasions recently; it’s believed to be Princess Diana’s watch, gifted to her by Prince Harry

Remembrance Sunday in the U.K. falls on the second Sunday in November, coinciding with Veterans Day in the United States, and marks the contribution of British and Commonwealth service members in the two World Wars and other military conflicts.

meghan markle and prince harry during remembrance sunday in los angeles, paying respects at a cemetery

Lee Morgan

meghan markle and prince harry during remembrance sunday in los angeles, paying respects at a cemetery

Lee Morgan

ELLE.com has also learned that the Sunday Times story reporting Prince Harry was denied a wreath being laid at the Cenotaph on the Sussexes’ behalf to honor the war dead for Remembrance Sunday in London was indeed accurate. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Kate, along with the current and former prime ministers, all participated in a scaled-back service in London’s Whitehall Sunday.

The optics of denying a wreath to the only member of the Royal Family who served on the front lines at great personal risk to himself will not sit well in the military community or in the United States, where the Duke of Sussex enjoys widespread admiration for his heroism serving in Afghanistan. While Prince Andrew served as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War, he never served on the front lines. Many individuals will see the move as petty and shortsighted given Harry’s long association with the military and his honorable service.

Prince Harry, who remains sixth in line despite stepping back as senior member of the Royal Family in March, arguably has done more for the military community in the United Kingdom with the exception of Her Majesty the Queen herself. At great personal peril, he served two tours of duty with honor, starting as “Captain Wales” before rising through the ranks to become Major Wales.

meghan markle and prince harry during remembrance sunday in los angeles, paying respects at a cemetery

Lee Morgan

Upon his return from Afghanistan, Prince Harry created the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style sporting competition to inspire recovery and to support rehabilitation, recognition, and respect for wounded, injured, and sick service members around the world. President-Elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden have been big supporters of Prince Harry’s Invictus Games and have worked closely with the Duke of Sussex promoting issues for the military community. The former U.S. vice president attended the Invictus Games in Orlando in 2016, and Dr. Jill Biden participated in several events with Prince Harry and First Lady Michelle Obama on the Joining Forces Initiative, which the then-First and Second Ladies helped create in 2011 to support military families.

prince harry and then vice president joe biden at the 2016 invictus games in orlando

Prince Harry and then-Vice President Joe Biden at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando.

Chris JacksonGetty Images

With Dr. Biden at his side, then-VP Biden told competitors at the Invictus Games wheelchair rugby match, “You make a difference. Like the line in the poem [Invictus] says, ‘They are the masters of their fate,’ but what you also are, you’re also the captains of your countries’ soul. You are the spine. You are the backbone. Thanks for being who you are.'”

Meghan has also been a strong supporter of the military community long before her association with Prince Harry. The Duchess of Sussex joined a USO tour to support troops, visiting six countries, including Afghanistan, alongside U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs until 2015. Meghan’s grandfather Alvin Ragland served in the U.S. Coast Guard, and he often used the Veterans Affairs center across from the cemetery Meghan and Harry visited in Los Angeles Sunday.

meghan markle and prince harry during remembrance sunday in los angeles, paying respects at a cemetery

Lee Morgan

meghan markle and prince harry during remembrance sunday in los angeles, paying respects at a cemetery

Lee Morgan

While at the cemetery Sunday, the couple laid flowers the Duchess picked from their own garden at the graves of two Commonwealth soldiers.

They also placed a wreath signed by Harry, which read, “To all those who have served, and are serving. Thank you.” The tribute also featured a plaque inscribed “In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives in Defence of Their Country.”

meghan markle and prince harry during remembrance sunday in los angeles, paying respects at a cemetery

Lee Morgan

Harry also participated in the Declassified podcast, where he spoke movingly about the meaning of his military service and wearing the uniform.

“When I get asked about this period of my life I draw from memories, I draw from what I remember and who I remember,” he said, “like the first time we were shot at and who I was with, the casualties we saw, and those we saved. And the first medic we escorted out of contact in a race against time. Once served, always serving, no matter what… This is what Remembrance Day means to me.”

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