The royal family's military uniforms and medals explained

From Prince Harry to James, Viscount Severn, here's what the medals on each of them mean

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Members of the British royal family displayed their military and honorary decorations as they attended the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

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King Charles III, Prince William and Princess Anne were among those in military uniform, while Prince Harry and Prince Andrew displayed several medals on their mourning suits.

Here are the meanings behind each uniform and medal, and why even James, Viscount Severn, 14, was spotted with medals.

King Charles III

Britain's King Charles III walks behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II. AFP

The king wore the Royal Navy No 1 tailcoat with sword, the collar of the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle Sash, Order of Merit neck ribbon, Garter Star and Thistle Star.

He also wore full-size medals including the Queen’s Service Order (New Zealand), Coronation Medal, Silver Jubilee Medal, Golden Jubilee Medal, Diamond Jubilee Medal, Platinum Jubilee Medal and a Naval Long Service Good Conduct (LSGC) (three x Additional Service Bars).

Other medals included Canadian Forces Decoration (three x Additional Service Bars), The New Zealand Commemorative Medal, and The New Zealand Armed Forces Award.

Charles had a six-year military career, mainly flying for the Royal Navy.

Earl of Wessex

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, second from left, pictured with Sophie, Countess of Wessex and their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn (back row) during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. PA Wire

Edward, Earl of Wessex wore the Blues Uniform with the rank of Honorary Royal Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, with the Garter Star and Sash and the Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) star.

He also wore Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee Medals, the New Zealand Medal and the Canadian Forces Medal.

Prince Edward did not serve in the military but spent a short time as a Royal Marines officer cadet after leaving university in the 1980s.

The Prince of Wales

Prince William, Prince of Wales, arrives at Westminster Abbey for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. AP

William, Prince of Wales wore the Royal Air Force No 1 uniform with the Garter Sash with RAF Pilot Wings and the Garter Star Chest Order.

He also wore the Gold, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee Medals.

William spent seven years in the military, including more than three years as a search and rescue pilot.

The Princess Royal

King Charles III and Princess Anne arrive at Westminster Abbey. AP Photo

Anne, Princess Royal, wore a Royal Navy full ceremonial uniform in the rank of Admiral.

She wore full-size medals including the Queen’s Service Order, Coronation Medal, the Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee medals, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (Royal Navy), Canadian Forces Decoration, Order of St John Service Medal and New Zealand 1990 Medal.

Anne wore a decoration of a thistle sash and thistle star, as well as the Most Noble Order of the Garter (Garter Star), the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (Star), and the Royal Victorian Order (Knight Grand Cross).

She did not serve in the military but holds a number of honours and titles.

Both Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who served in the military, were dressed in formal mourning clothes for the state funeral because they are no longer working members of the royal family.

However, both displayed a number of medals.

The Duke of Sussex

Prince Harry, left, and Prince Edward arrive at Westminster Abbey. AP Photo

Prince Harry wore a black morning suit, displaying four medals. He wore the KCVO Star, representing the Royal Victorian Order, which recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch of the Commonwealth.

He also displayed his Afghanistan Service Medal, which was awarded for his time serving as a Captain in the British army, as well as the Gold, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee Medals.

The Duke of York

Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York, second from right, displays his medals on a mourning suit. AFP

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, spent 22 years in the Royal Navy and served as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands War in 1982.

He holds medals for Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, as well as the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, Canadian Forces’ Decoration and Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan.

In 1982, he was awarded the South Atlantic Medal for his service in the Falklands War.

He also holds the Silver Jubilee Medal, Golden Jubilee Medal, Diamond Jubilee Medal and Platinum Jubilee Medal.

Eagle-eyed viewers were also confused as to why Prince Edward's teenage son, James, Viscount Severn, was wearing medals. However, he has received both the Diamond Jubilee Medal and Platinum Jubilee Medal.

– Additional reporting by PA

Updated: September 19, 2022, 12:15 PM
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