Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were accused of ‘attention seeking’ after sharing pictures of their private visit to a cemetery on Remembrance Sunday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid their respects to fallen soldiers at the Los Angeles National Cemetery to mark the occasion.
But they were accused of pulling ‘stunts’ and ‘virtual signalling’ after releasing photographs of their visit as they walked side by side among rows of white gravestones.
Wearing commemorative poppies on their lapels, the couple laid flowers picked from their garden at the graves of two Commonwealth soldiers according to royal biographer Omid Scobie.
He tweeted: “They also placed a wreath at an obelisk in the cemetery that features a plaque inscribed with the words ‘In Memory of the Men Who Offered Their Lives in Deference of Their Country.'”
Harry also left a message on the wreath which read: “To all of those who have served, and are serving. Thank you.”
Images of their visit were released by Meghan and Harry’s office.
But the couple faced huge backlash as critics questioned why they did not ‘do it in private’ rather than ‘treating Remembrance Sunday like a PR opportunity.’
Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan tweeted: ” My god, they’ve even turned Remembrance Sunday into another self-publicity stunt. Have they no shame?”
Political commentator Darren Grimes tweeted: ” There’s something really quite tasteless about Prince Harry and Meghan at a cemetery in California, with a photographer that just happened to be there, to make sure they can get in on the action too.”
Another person added on Twitter : ” Sentiment totally missed due to the fact they took their own private photographer. Disingenuous in my view, disgraceful pair. Please can we have a media black out on these.”
While supporters defended the couple and thanked them for sharing the touching images.
One Twitter user said: “E verybody goes out of their way to attack Meghan and Harry for literally NOTHING.
“Here, they are photographed paying their respects to fallen soldiers and were accused of ‘wanting attention’ and ‘setting up a PR stunt.’ It is so disgusting.”
Another said: “How dare you. He lost comrades fighting in Iraq.”
While another added: “Good grief, you lot are obsessive in your jealousy and spitefulness.
“Harry helped Help for Heroes raise loads of money to support injured soldiers and also set up the Invictus Games. He has a new life now. You don’t own him.”
Prince Harry served in the British Army for ten years, rising to the rank of Captain and undertook two tours of Afghanistan. The Duke has also focused much of his humanitarian efforts on the military community.
During the LA cemetery visit, Harry wore his 2002 Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal, 2008 Afghanistan Operational Service medal and 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal, Harpers Bazaar reports.
A source close to the Sussexes told the publication: “It was important to the Duke and Duchess to be able to personally recognise Remembrance in their own way, to pay tribute to those who have served and to those who gave their lives.”
The LA cemetery the couple visited is opposite the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Care System.
Meghan’s grandfather, Alvin Ragland, used the building after he served in the US Coast Guard.
Harry, who stepped down from royal duties in March, reportedly asked for somebody to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph on his behalf.
Despite his decade of military service, Palace officials reportedly refused his request for the London war memorial on the grounds he is no longer representing the royals.
The wreath – which costs £1,000 – was reportedly not used at all and remains in storage.