Why does King Charles wear a military uniform and what medals does he have?

KING Charles III served in the military from 1971 to 1976.

Here we look at the uniform he wears and the medals he’s received.


King Charles III wearing the Royal Navy No 1 tailcoat with sword for the Committal Service of Queen Elizabeth IICredit: Getty

What uniforms does King Charles wear?

King Charles served as an air vice marshal in the Royal Air Force and rear admiral in the Navy.

He retired in 1976 after six years of active service.

The uniform he wears nods to the branches of the armed forces in which he served.

For example, he wore the Royal Navy No 1 tailcoat with sword, the collar of the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle Sash, Order of Merit neck order, Garter Star and Thistle Star for his mother’s funeral, Queen Elizabeth II.

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Why does King Charles wear a green sash?

The green sash that has been worn by King Charles is the Order of the Thistle.

The Order of the Thistle is the greatest order of chivalry in Scotland.

It recognises men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life.

What will King Charles wear on his coronation day?

For his coronation on May 6, It is understood that the King has been advised to make a more modern choice for his ceremony.

The coronation will “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future while being rooted in long-standing traditions and pageantry”.

In previous ceremonies, the King or Queen has traditionally worn silk stockings and breeches.

However, Charles will choose to wear his military uniform.

What military rank is King Charles?

Although Charles left the military in 1976, he still continued to work closely with the Armed Forces.

In 2012, the late Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the highest rank in all three services – Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

What medals does King Charles have?

King Charles has not been awarded for his active service in a war.

Instead, his awards are for being a member of a high-ranking order, being in a particular time or place, or medals from other countries.

The former Prince of Wales has been awarded the following medals:

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  • Queen’s Service Order (New Zealand)
  • Coronation Medal
  • Silver Jubilee Medal
  • Golden Jubilee Medal
  • Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Naval Long Service Good Conduct (LSGC) (three additional service bars)
  • Canadian Forces Decoration (three additional service bars)
  • The New Zealand Commemorative Medal
  • New Zealand Armed Forces Award

Charles was also awarded the Garter Star in 1958, which is the most prestigious British order of chivalry.

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