When it comes to royal etiquette most people think of the fashions that come along with it. Gentlemen must wear morning coats, women must wear hats. In some instances, dresses are required to have sleeves or ladies wear shawls. But while most of the focus at the royal wedding will be on Meghan and how she does or doesn't conform to tradition, one of the major questions actually involves her husband to be. The big question is if Prince Harry shaved for the royal wedding? And he didn't, which makes this a huge break with accepted etiquette.
Wait. Prince Harry's facial hair is an issue? Yes, actually it's a big deal. First of all, you may have noticed he's the only royal with a beard. There's a reason for that. One, the Queen is apparently no fan of facial hair. She dislikes Harry's beard and always has. One of the reasons she's probably a fan of Meghan: since Harry started dating her, he's been keeping his beard more trim and under control, which everyone assumes is due to her influence.
But the other, and the more important part is that military etiquette demands that when one is in uniform, one must be clean-shaven. To be honest, this is much more likely when Philip, Charles, and William have always stayed beardless. When switching back and forth into uniform for state affairs, it would be too big a hassle to go from beard to beardless and back again. Harry, on the other hand, being further down the chain, doesn't have to pop in and out of his military regalia on a regular basis.
When it comes to wedding attire the men of the royal family have traditionally opted for being married in uniform. In fact, when it came to William's wedding, the Queen actually promoted him to "Captain in the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals" in order for him to wear the uniform he did. Harry was recently promoted just after his engagement to "Captain General Royal Marines," taking over the role from Prince Philip. If he wears that uniform, and he doesn't shave the beard, it will be considered "bad form."
Of course, Harry and Meghan have been breaking with tradition all over the place. So would it be that much of a shocker for him to show up in a morning coat to be married, in order to keep his beard?
Well.... he didn't shave, so apparently not! It's a three day "George Michael Scruff" style-beard, but it's a beard! The Queen must be silently frowning inwardly.
But then again, Harry's beard is kind of a symbol for him. It marks him as the casual one in the family, and also the rebel. It's practically his trademark. His beard, as one might say, is very "on brand" for him. So naturally he would fight (and win) to be allowed to wear it for the wedding, even if doing so in uniform is breaking all kinds of traditions.
So what uniform did Harry wear? According to the Palace, the Queen gave Harry her blessing for both the beard and to wear his single-breasted black uniform. According to the royal family, it is made of blue doeskin, and the white belt is buckskin with sword slings.
As one can see, Prince William actually wore a matching uniform, but his is adorned with elaborate gold braiding from the regimental pattern, as well as his Knight of the Garter star.
This is in high contrast to when William married Kate back in 2011. As most remember, his uniform was bright red, which is the Irish Guards Mounted Officer’s uniform. It really speaks to how toned down and casual Harry is trying to make this.