We all know Prince Harry is getting ready for his royal wedding to Meghan Markle, but we also learned that he was recently appointed to a new royal role by Queen Elizabeth and it’s a pretty big deal.
Prince Harry shares a very close bond with his grandfather, Prince Philip, who announced in May 2017 that he would be retiring from his royal duties. Therefore, the queen needed to approve appointment of someone to take over a major role and she has decided that would be Harry.
Here’s more on the role Harry is filling, plus a few things you probably didn’t know about his relationship with Prince Philip — including whether his grandfather is now a fan of Markle’s show Suits.
Prince Philip officially retires from royal duties
Prince Philip officially stepped down from his royal duties on Aug. 2, 2017, at the age of 96. For his final royal engagement, Philip attended a parade which celebrated the achievements of servicemen who had taken part in the Marines’ 1664 Global Challenge. The event took place on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
“The Duke of Edinburgh will no longer undertake his own program of public engagements,” a statement from the palace read. “The Captain General’s Parade will bring His Royal Highness’ individual program to a conclusion, although he may choose to attend certain events, alongside The Queen, from time to time.”
Queen Elizabeth approves appointment of Prince Harry to fill role
On Dec. 19, 2017, it was announced that Her Majesty had approved an appointment of Prince Harry to Captain General Royal Marines, which is the position Prince Philip had previously held.
Harry is succeeding his grandfather in a role that the Duke of Edinburgh held since 1953 when he took over for Queen Elizabeth II’s late father, King George VI.
Harry and his grandfather share strong military bond
The appointment is not only an honor for Prince Harry but it also makes sense since, like his grandfather, he has a military background.
Although Harry had not previously served in the Royal Navy as Prince Philip did, the younger prince was in the army for a decade and has long shown his appreciation for veterans and those currently serving in the military.
Prince Harry showed his grandfather clips of Markle on Suits
Reports suggest that in summer 2017, Harry sought approval for Markle from Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. So he decided to show his grandparents what the American did for a job. Since Her Majesty and His Royal Highness don’t have time to binge watch Suits, Harry showed them several YouTube clips of the actress starring on the legal drama.
“Obviously he had spoken at length beforehand about all her charitable work and interest in causes that the pair shared. It was a very touching moment and a nice way for Harry to show off Meghan to them,” a source revealed. “The moment helped Harry to show his older family how successful his future wife had been in her career.”
Grandparents allow Harry to break royal tradition
We’re not sure if it was all the Suits clips that won them over, but the queen and Philip did give Harry their stamp of approval regarding his bride-to-be. They even allowed their grandson to break royal protocol by bringing Markle along to take part in their Christmas festivities at the Sandringham estate outside of London. She is the first fiancée to do so, as Queen Elizabeth has strict rules about anyone not already members of the royal family staying at the country estate.
In 2010, Kate Middleton did not attend the celebrations at Sandringham after she and Prince William got engaged. Therefore, inviting significant others before they are married doesn’t typically happen, as royal expert Kate Nicholl pointed out to ET:
It’s a big deal because it’s incredibly unusual. Yes, they are engaged, but Meghan doesn’t have that all-important wedding band on her finger. I think that she might well be the first royal fiancée to be invited to Sandringham for Christmas. The queen has really gone above and beyond and she’s done that very simply to make Meghan feel welcome and to keep Harry happy.
Harry and Markle chose their wedding date for Prince Philip
For anyone who may have been wondering why Prince Harry and his fiancée are getting married so soon after announcing their engagement, well, there’s a reason for that. If you thought getting hitched within six months of getting engaged seemed quick, it turns out Harry wanted to do things sooner rather than later in order to ensure his grandfather can attend while in good health.
Nicholl told Entertainment Tonight:
One of the reasons that Prince Harry has wanted this wedding to happen quite quickly — this is really whirlwind by royal standards — is because his 96-year-old grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, is retired now and Prince Harry really wants him to be at his wedding. He’s incredibly close to his grandfather and, being 96, Harry thought it was a great thing to [have] the wedding sooner rather than later, so his grandfather could be there, fit and healthy.
Wedding location also has significance
Windsor Castle, where Harry and Markle will be getting married, holds a special significance to the prince and both of his grandparents because he spent time there with them when he was a child.
“Windsor is a really special place to Prince Harry. He spent a lot of [his] childhood there, went to school there [and] it’s where he spends a lot of time as an adult with his grandmother.”
The castle bears a special significance to Markle as well since it is where she “first got to know the queen.”
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