Prince Harry and Meghan Markle paid a sombre visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery on the UK's Remembrance Sunday (November 8) to lay flowers and a wreath.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who moved to Santa Barbara, California in July this year, visited the cemetery and placed flowers on the graves of two soldiers from Commonwealth countries, Australia and Canada.
Meghan picked the flowers herself from the garden of the couple’s home.
They also laid a wreath and shared a quiet moment of reflection at an obelisk in the cemetery which is inscribed with the words: “In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives In Defence Of Their Country”.
"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," read a statement from Harry and Meghan. "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 couple also left a note with the wreath, which read: “To all of those who have served, and are serving. Thank you”.
Harry’s military career
The Prince, 36, spent 10 years in the British armed forces, joining in 2006 and rising to the rank of captain. He carried out two tours of Afghanistan in 2007 and again in 2012. Upon his return to civilian life, he was instrumental in setting up the Invictus Games, a sporting event for injured servicemen and women, with the first one held in 2014.
However, when Harry and Meghan announced their intention to step back as senior members of the British royal family in January this year, the duke was stripped of all his military appointments, including as Captain General Royal Marines, and would no longer officially represent the royal family at military engagements and ceremonies. He remains a patron of the Invictus Games, which were not held this year because of Covid-19.
'Wreath snub’ deepens rift with royal family
The personal visit to the cemetery comes after The Times reported that Harry's request to have a wreath laid on his behalf at the Cenotaph in London had been refused.
In a refusal said to have “deeply saddened” Harry, his wreath, which was made at the Royal British Legion headquarters in Kent, would not be used in the royal Remembrance events this year.
Recently speaking on the Declassified military podcast, Harry said: "Remembrance Day for me is a moment for respect and for hope. Respect for those who came before us and hope for a safer world. Even when we can't all be together, we always remember together."