I remember seeing an explanation of all the medals on Charles's red uniform but I can't find the thread anymore. I'm sure I saw it here on RD but my search ability has gone to the pits
The Explanation was posted by Future Crayon half-way down the first page of this thread.
Just to clarify - the jubilee and other commemorative medals in the UK are not just given to royals. The following groups were entitled to the for the Diamond Jubilee medal, for example:
- members of the Armed Forces (regular and reserves) who have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2012http://www.thediamondjubi...ial-diamond-jubilee-medal
- emergency services personnel who have been in paid service, retained or in a voluntary capacity, who have to face the prospect of dealing with emergencies as part of their conditions of service, and have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2012
- operational prison services personnel who regularly face difficult and sometimes emergency situations and have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2012
- all Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who are in service on 6 February 2012 and have completed five full calendar years of service
- living holders of the Victoria Cross and George Cross
- members of the Royal Household
The UK armed forces are actually a lot more stingy with medals and decorations than the US military, for example, who give out loads of medals simply for time served. They earn a medal for every 3 years they don't get in trouble with their superiors (the Good Conduct Medal). The nearest UK equivalent takes 15 years to earn. Prince Harry would have a lot more than the 3 medals he currently has had he been in the US military for the last 8 years.
As regards Edward - in fairness to him, he tried out for the Royal Marines whose selection process is the longest and most difficult in the world. The drop out rate is very high. Edward got a lot of stick for not making it, but that's nothing to be ashamed of IMO. Princess Anne has never actually served in the armed forces at all, but people don't seem to mind her wearing military uniform.
The royals wear the uniforms as a form of solidarity or to honour regiments they're involved with. Everyone know their appointments are mostly honorary and the rank and file in the forces seem to appreciate the royal connections on the whole.