Just weeks ahead of their official transition out of the royal family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are finding creative ways to say goodbye to their former roles. As Harry prepares to step away from his British military appointments for at least the rest of this year, he opted to wear his red military uniform to Saturday night’s Mountbatten Festival of Music, an annual fundraiser for the Royal Marines Association. Meghan donned a matching floor-length, caped Safiyaa gown with red Aquazzura heels, earrings, and a satin clutch.
The red uniform has a long history within the British military, dating back to around the 17th century. The bright color distinguished British soldiers from enemies, especially when they were at war with French soldiers in blue. Harry has worn the military uniform before, which represents his rank as Captain General of the Royal Marines, notably at Prince William’s wedding — but, as Vanity Fair reported, he has typically opted for the more subdued black version.
Though Harry and Meghan have spent the past few months in Canada, they have clearly returned to the U.K. with a bright, bold bang. But they weren’t the only ones in red: other veterans wore matching uniforms. Meghan, though, made a statement of support by matching her to dress to Harry’s ensemble.
On April 1, Harry and Meghan will begin their new roles outside the Palace. Though Harry will still be able to partake in certain military and veteran events and traditions, his step back from certain royal duties will bar him from wearing the uniform at official engagements. He will still be allowed to wear the medals he received for his time in Afghanistan, but it might be awhile before we see Harry in military red again.
This year’s festival was special, as it coincided with both the 75th anniversary of World War II’s conclusion and the 80th anniversary of the British Commandos’ formation. And it makes sense that Harry wanted to return for the occasion: his military commitments have been important to him throughout his royal tenure. Harry even addressed the community directly during a January speech about his impending exit. “I was born into this life, and it is a great honor to serve my country and the Queen,” he said. “I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities, and military communities that are so important to me.”
Harry and Meghan returned to England last week for Thursday night’s Endeavor Fund Awards, where the couple also color-coordinated in bright shades of blue. Up next, they are set to reunite with the rest of the royal family for Commonwealth Day on Monday — if the pattern sticks, they’re sure to rock another bold color then, too.