Prince Harry was on the receiving end of a ticking off yesterday, when he attended a reception for D-Day veterans without wearing a tie.
The Prince met with 45 veterans at Southwick House, near Portsmouth, ahead of the anniversary of the Normandy landings. He was wearing a white open-neck shirt and a blazer, and was jokingly reprimanded by 91 year-old Ivor Anderson.
“I told him he should wear a bloody tie,” Mr Anderson said. “I said I had a spare one, he said he couldn’t wear mine because he didn’t have his wings [An emblem on badges handed to qualified military parachutists].”
Prince Harry, who is a former serviceman himself, realised that he was under-dressed as soon as he arrived. “Are they all wearing ties in there?” he asked John Phipps, the founder of D-Day Revisited. “I should have worn a tie. Oh well, it’s too late now.”
“I was told not to wear a tie and then you all turn up wearing ties, I feel under-dressed,” he later commented to the gathered veterans.
D-Day Revisited is a charity that funds and organises trips to France for veterans of the Second World War. Retired servicemen who fought on the beaches of Normandy can take part in an annual pilgrimage to the beaches and the surrounding area. The charity has been organising these trips since 2008, and also provides medical support and assistance for those who have become less mobile with age.
Mr Anderson was a sapper in the 591 Para Squadron Royal Engineers, who were one of the first to land on the beaches in 1944. He is making his fourth trip to the beaches of Normandy this year. “The first time I went back over was about 1950 on a motorbike,” he said. “It’s very sad at times. Especially now because all of my unit are gone. They’re all dead.”
Despite his wardrobe malfunction, Prince Harry spent a great deal of time meeting and chatting to veterans, including Mr Anderson. He also spoke to John Dennett and Frank Diffell, both 91, and 92 year-old Anthony Colgan.
Before leaving, he addressed the veterans, saying: “I have so much respect for you guys – running off a boat on to those beaches.” He then wished them well on their journey, adding: “Don’t get into trouble and if you do, don’t get caught.”