The Unexpected Way Prince George Broke Tradition At The Queen's Funeral

As the world mourned the tragic death of Queen Elizabeth II, tens of thousands of grieving people queued up for hours to pay their respects as the queen lay in state at Westminster Hall. The funeral of Her Majesty, the longest-serving monarch in British history, was attended by scores of notable figures. Among the 2,000 dignitaries and guests in attendance were more than 500 heads of state, as Time says, including U.S. President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Japan's Emperor Naruhito.

Also in attendance at Westminster Abbey to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth were members of the royal family, including William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, and two of their young children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. While the family is notorious for adhering to royal protocol, they occasionally deviate from tradition — something 9-year-old Prince George did in an unexpected way during Her Majesty's funeral procession.

Prince George wore a navy suit to Queen Elizabeth II's funeral

Prince George, second in line to the throne, broke with royal tradition as he walked with members of the royal family behind the queen's coffin on September 19. George, joined by his sister Princess Charlotte, walked side-by-side with his parents, Prince William and Princess Kate, while Prince Louis was deemed too young to attend the service.

According to Wales Online, in a surprising break from tradition, the poshly dressed prince donned a navy suit rather than a traditional black ensemble. The move had some onlookers scratching their heads, but as it turns out, the regal royal did so as a subtle sign of respect to his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth. According to Hello!, royal etiquette states that wearing dark colors — including the navy worn by Prince George — is a gesture of respect for the deceased. While the mourning monarch may have strayed from tradition, he stayed within the confines of royal protocol.

Following in his father's and uncle's footsteps

Prince George wasn't the only one to break with traditional black during the period following Queen Elizabeth's death. From September 15, Princes William and Harry were seen in public wearing dark blue suits similar to the shade that William's son George wore to his great-grandmother's funeral, as Express describes. They even, like George, both wore black ties with the suits. William and Harry were first seen wearing such attire outside of Windsor Castle where they mingled a bit with the British public. At the time, the Princess of Wales Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, both wore black.

The choice of blue was particularly suited to the period of mourning leading up to a funeral, and as fashion coach Miranda holder says on Express, is actually more in keeping with the "code for [a] gentleman." Even back when Princess Diana died, now-King Charles III wore a dark blue suit with black tie to her funeral in 1997. This set the modern standard for royal men to make the choice to wear either blue or black to such events. The young Prince George, then, was following not only in his father's and uncle's footsteps, but those of his grandfather, the new king.

Blue like Prince William's RAF uniform

There's another reason why Prince George might have worn blue to Queen Elizabeth's funeral: his father's Royal Air Force (RAF) uniform. While we can't know about the ins and outs of personal, familial discussions regarding what someone wears to this or that event of mourning, it stands to reason that the young Prince George might have elected to show solidarity with his father, given options about what to wear. 

As People describes, Prince William wore dark blue to his grandmother's funeral, like his son George. In William's case, he also wore his Garter sash with RAF Pilot Wings, and the Garter Star Chest Order, as well as Queen's Gold, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilee medals. The choice for George to wear blue makes sense if both he and his father are viewed side by side, especially if George's sister, Princess Charlotte, stood next to him wearing black, and their mother Kate Middleton on the other side also wearing black. Granted, William's and George's shades of blue were not exactly identical, but they were similar enough to perhaps provide some comfort to Prince George as he stayed next to his father.

For their parts, Middleton and her daughter's attire communicated restraint, and related a level of decorum proper to the entire proceedings. All in all, the care taken by the royal family during Queen Elizabeth's funeral bodes well for the upcoming reign of King Charles III.