What Does Prince Harry’s New Knighthood Really Mean?

Prince Harry Military Regalia Field of Remembrance 2014

Andrew Parsons / i-Images

Yesterday, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen made Prince Harry a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) during a private ceremony.

The Royal Victorian Order is given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way, and can only be gifted by the Sovereign.


Now that Harry has been knighted, many are confused about his position in the royal family.  I asked royal commentator Victoria Arbiter to clear up any confusion regarding the prince and his well-deserved accolade.

TDD: Does Harry outrank William now?

Victoria Arbiter: No, Harry does not outrank William. William is a Garter Knight, which is a top honour [which was bestowed up on him in 2008].

TDD: Does this change how Harry is addresses?
VA: No, he is still HRH Prince Harry, just with KCVO after his name.

TDD:  What is a KCVO?

VA: KCVO stands for Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order. It is a personal award given by the Queen without the advice of her ministers and is given in recognition of services to the sovereign.


TDD: Why did the Queen bestow this on Harry?

VA: My guess is that as Prince Harry embarks on his next chapter (he leaves the army this month after 10 years of service and 2 tours of duty),  the Queen wanted to recognise and celebrate his achievements on behalf of the monarchy. The Invictus Games, initiated by him, were a huge success.  He served in HM’s armed forces, completing two tours of duty.  Sentebale, a charity he helped established, is making significant strides, and he continues to champion the needs of wounded veterans.


The international tours he has undertaken on behalf of the Queen have been very well-received and he has successfully promoted both Great Britain and the monarchy at home and abroad. The Queen likes to recognise and reward good work.

Many royal watchers are hoping that Harry is appointed a member of the Order of the Garter, of which his older brother, aunt, father and uncles are a part of. The Garter is the oldest order of chivalry, and only allows 24 members at one time.

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4 thoughts on “What Does Prince Harry’s New Knighthood Really Mean?

  1. Mark Arbeen, KHS says:

    Kelly, great questions. We Americans don’t have these type of awards (wish we did). However, some of us have received Knighthood from foreign heads of state. Mine is Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem under the protection of the Holy See.

    The one question I would love to see asked is: “Why has the Duchess of Cambridge not yet received the Family Order of Elizabeth II?”

    Keep up the good work!

    • Kelly says:

      Great question, Mark! I think that Catherine probably has to cut her teeth (so to speak) a bit more with charity work, etc before she’s gifted with it. I imagine in another 6-8 years or so.

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