Prince Harry and Meghan Markle paid a surprise visit to the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Sunday, November 8, in honor of Remembrance Day as the royal family attended a memorial ceremony 5,400 miles away in London.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex laid flowers on the graves of two Commonwealth soldiers, one who had served in the Royal Australian Air Force, while the other was a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery. The former Suits star, 39, picked the white blossoms from their garden in Santa Barbara, California.
Harry also placed a wreath at an obelisk that features a plaque with the inscription “In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives in Defense of Their Country.”
The Afghanistan war veteran, 36, signed a note on the wreath that read, “To all those who have served and are serving. Thank you.”
Their visit came as Harry’s brother, Prince William, and wife Duchess Kate joined Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and other members of the royal family at a private Remembrance Day service in London on Sunday.
The Sunday Times reported that Harry’s request for a wreath to be laid at the Cenotaph in London on his behalf was refused.
The outlet reported that the prince made the personal request to Buckingham Palace but it was denied by courtiers because that he is no longer representing the monarchy. The Times reported that Harry was “deeply saddened” by the decision and that the queen was not made aware of her grandson’s request.
Harry, who served in the military for 10 years, gave up his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines when he and Meghan stepped back as senior members of the royal family at the end of March and relocated to California.
In an interview with the “Declassified” podcast that was released on Sunday, Harry reflected on his military service, saying that Remembrance Day for him is “a moment for respect and for hope.”
Harry created the Invictus Games for injured and disabled veterans and spoke of the importance of paying tribute to fallen troops and about the symbolism of wearing a poppy.
“I wear the poppy to recognize all those who have served; the soldiers I knew, as well as those I didn’t,” he said.
Scroll down to see pics from Meghan and Harry’s visit to the L.A. cemetery.