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New Prince William Photo Highlights Little-Known Fact – Newsweek

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A new wedding day portrait of Prince William and Princess Kate released to mark their 13th wedding anniversary on Monday has highlighted a little-known fact that is claimed to have caused tension between the prince and his younger brother, Harry.

Kensington Palace released the never-before-seen image taken by photographer Millie Pilkington to celebrate William and Kate’s anniversary, captioning it “13 years ago today!” on social media.

The black and white image taken in one of the state rooms of Buckingham Palace where the couple’s wedding reception was held shows Kate in her Alexander McQueen wedding gown and diamond tiara, standing next to William wearing his black frockcoat uniform as a member of the Household Cavalry.

The image won the couple praise on social media, being released as Kate continues her treatment for cancer announced last month. However, eagle-eyed users were quick to note that the prince’s black frockcoat uniform was not the one he famously wore for his marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey, causing some confusion online.

Prince William and Princess Kate photographed on their wedding day, April 29, 2011. Image released by Kensington Palace (L) to mark the couple’s 13th anniversary shows the prince in his frockcoat uniform of the Household…
Prince William and Princess Kate photographed on their wedding day, April 29, 2011. Image released by Kensington Palace (L) to mark the couple’s 13th anniversary shows the prince in his frockcoat uniform of the Household Cavalry. Image taken at Westminster Abbey (R) shows the royal in his scarlet tunic of the Irish Guards regiment. The uniform switch has caused confusion online.

The Prince and Princess of Wales/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“Wait. Prince William wasn’t wearing that uniform during the ceremony. It was red. What’s up here,” wrote one X (formerly Twitter) user.

“I literally just noticed that Prince William changed into a different uniform for this shot than from what he wore at the ceremony,” posted another, with a further comment reading: “William didn’t have that kind of outfit on his wedding day! He had that red uniform. This is a fake picture.”

The suspicious nature of a small proportion of online comments about the latest image comes as Kensington Palace was embroiled in a photo scandal in March when it released a photo of Princess Kate and her three children to celebrate Mother’s Day.

The photo included traces of apparent editing, sparking conspiracy theories and prompting an apology from Kate who said: “Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.”

Far from being a royal conspiracy, there is an explanation for William’s change in uniform, switching from the red tunic of the Irish Guards which he wore for the ceremony to the black frockcoat uniform of the Household Cavalry for the reception, which was seen by the world on the wedding day itself.

Millions around the world watched as the prince and Kate married at Westminster Abbey with the royal in his red tunic uniform which he wore as Colonel of the Irish Guards, a position given to him by Queen Elizabeth II.

In a 2012 interview given at the time of his grandmother’s Diamond Jubilee, the prince revealed that his outfit had been the subject of debate behind palace walls and that his grandmother had ultimately influenced his decision.

“Within the Irish Guards regiment there’s several variants of dress you can wear and I was opting for a different type of dress from the one I wore on the day,” he said. “My grandmother very much decided that the red tunic was very smart and the appropriate one to wear for the day. So, I was duly told on that occasion. So, I did what I was told.”

The new photo highlights that after the ceremony, the prince changed from his required uniform which appeased the queen, into one he felt more comfortable in. This was seen on the day when William and Kate left Buckingham Palace after their wedding reception by open-top car.

The couple drove from the palace the short distance to Clarence House with William wearing the black frockcoat uniform of the Household Cavalry and Kate in her wedding dress.

Prince William and Princess Kate Wedding Day
Prince William leaving Buckingham Palace with Princess Kate on their wedding day, April 29, 2011. The prince was photographed wearing his frocked coat uniform of the Household Cavalry after changing for the reception.
Prince William leaving Buckingham Palace with Princess Kate on their wedding day, April 29, 2011. The prince was photographed wearing his frocked coat uniform of the Household Cavalry after changing for the reception.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The issue surrounding William’s wedding outfit was raised by Prince Harry in his 2023 memoir Spare.

In the book, Harry wrote that his brother resented the fact that he had been granted permission by the queen to marry Meghan Markle wearing the black frocked coat uniform of the Household Cavalry, which was raised in an ongoing rift caused by Harry also being permitted to wear the uniform with a beard (something the British Army didn’t allow at the time).

“He hated the idea of me enjoying a perk he’d been denied,” Harry told his readers.

“It also, I suspected, brought back bad memories of being told he couldn’t marry in the uniform of his choice.

“Then he confirmed my suspicion. He said it outright: In one of our beard debates he complained bitterly about my being allowed to marry in my Household Cavalry frock coat, which he’d wanted to wear for his wedding.”

William did not publicly respond to the claims made by Harry in his book.

At Harry’s wedding to Meghan in 2018, both princes wore their frockcoat uniforms, also being joined by Prince George and the page boys who wore specially made versions in miniature.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

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