Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ‘personally recognised’ Remembrance Day by visiting the Los Angeles National cemetery to pay their respects.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex laid flowers at two graves, one for those who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force and one for soldiers from the Royal Canadian Artillery.
The flowers were picked by Meghan from the garden of their $14 million Santa Barbara mansion.
The couple were pictured laying wreaths at the scene alone, with Harry wearing a suit adorned with medals. They reportedly wore masks on the way to the cemetery, though they were pictured without them when they reached the graves.
It comes after Harry was reportedly refused permission for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf today, in the latest sign of a family rift.
Prince Harry, who spent ten years in the armed forces, made the personal request to Buckingham Palace, but was refused due to the fact he had left royal duties in March, The Times reported.
The Queen was not thought to have been informed of the request or its refusal, which is said to have ‘deeply saddened’ the Duke of Sussex, the publication reports.
A spokesman for the couple said: ‘It was important to the duke and duchess to be able to personally recognise Remembrance in their own way, to pay tribute to those who have served and to those who gave their lives,’ a statement said.
‘The couple laid flowers that the duchess picked from their garden at the gravesites of two commonwealth soldiers, one who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force and one from the Royal Canadian Artillery.’
The statement said they also placed a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery.
‘The duke signed a message with the wreath saying: ‘To all of those who have served, and are serving. Thank you’.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured during a private visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Remembrance Sunday
Prince Harry signed a message with the wreath he left at the cemetery saying: ‘To all of those who have served, and are serving. Thank you’
It comes after Harry was reportedly refused permission for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph on his behalf today
Prince Harry emphasised the importance of Remembrance Sunday during an appearance on a military podcast to mark the event, which airs today.
On the interview with the Declassified podcast, he described the day as ‘a moment for respect and for hope’.
The former royal said: ‘The act of remembering, of remembrance, is a profound act of honour. It’s how we preserve the legacies of entire generations and show our gratitude for the sacrifices they made in order for us to be able to live the lives we live today.’
In previous years, the duke has marked the day with visits to the Cenotaph and Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance – he first attended the cenotaph in 2009 aged 25.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is also not expected to attend the ceremony, reports The Times.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment on whether Prince Harry’s request had been refused. Prince Harry’s representatives have been contacted for comment.
During the podcast, Harry also spoke about his experiences and said he cherishes his relationship with veterans, describing coming together as ‘like meeting an old mate’.
He added: ‘I wear the poppy to recognise all those who have served; the soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn’t.
In previous years, the duke has marked the day with visits to the Cenotaph and Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance. Pictured: The Duke laying a wreath on Anzac day in 2016
Prince Harry, who spent 10 years in the armed forces, described the day as ‘a moment for respect and for hope’, in an interview with the Declassified podcast
Prince William and Prince Charles attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London today without Prince Harry
The Remembrance Sunday ceremony takes place at the Cenotaph on Whitehall in central London, on November 8, 2020
Prince Harry prepares to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, on Whitehall, Westminster, London, during the annual Remembrance Sunday service, Sunday November 8, 2009
‘The soldiers who were by my side in Afghanistan, those who had their lives changed forever, and those that didn’t come home.
‘I wear it to celebrate the bravery and determination of all our veterans, and their loved ones, especially those in our Invictus family.
‘These are the people and moments I remember when I salute, when I stand at attention and when I lay a wreath at the Cenotaph.’
Harry created the Invictus Games in 2014 for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans from around the world to compete in a range of sports.
Services for Remembrance Sunday this year are greatly impacted due to the pandemic, with a full lockdown in England and other restrictions in place across the UK.
Britain’s Prince William, right, Prince Harry, centre, and Prince Andrew, left, attend the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph in London on November 8, 2015
The UK Government has this year encouraged councils to ensure remembrance services are short, entirely outdoors and held in front of limited numbers.
The Duke of Sussex, who now lives in the United States with his wife Meghan and their son Archie, said: ‘Even when we can’t all be together, we always remember together.’
On the podcast, which documents stories from the military community, the duke also spoke about his own service which included two tours of Afghanistan.
He said: ‘When I get asked about this period of my life I draw from memories, I draw from what I remember and who I remember.
‘Like the first time we were shot at and who I was with, the casualties we saw, and those we saved. And the first medivac we escorted out of contact in a race against time.
‘Once served always serving, no matter what.
Prince Charles and Prince William represented the Royal Family at the service today, while Prince Harry remained in Los Angeles
‘Being able to wear my uniform, being able to stand up in service of one’s country, these are amongst the greatest honours there are in life.
‘To me, the uniform is a symbol of something much bigger, it’s symbolic of our commitment to protecting our country, as well as protecting our values.
‘These values are put in action through service, and service is what happens in the quiet and in the chaos.’