Britain’s famous Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots are to be allowed to grow beards for the first time in the service’s more than 100 years in existence.
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) in London confirmed on Sunday that the rule change will come into force on Sept. 1.
Currently RAF personnel are allowed to wear a trimmed moustache, but beards have been banned because air crew need to use breathing masks in war planes.
A spokesman for the RAF told the Sun newspaper: “This change allows serving members of the RAF to wear a smart, neatly trimmed, full-set beard whilst maintaining high standards of appearance.”
The spokesman said it was hoped the move would promote inclusivity, broaden the recruitment pool and help the RAF retain its highly-skilled personnel.
The MOD said the change will bring the RAF into line with the Royal Navy which already allows sailors to have a beard and a moustache.
The British Army does not allow troops to wear beards or have facial hair unless there are religious or medical reasons.
Media sources in London quoted the MOD saying the army is not planning to change its rules which only permits moustaches.
The BBC in London said Prince Harry was given special permission by his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, to keep his famous beard for his marriage in May of 2018 to U.S. actress Meghan Markle. The world-famous groom wore full army dress during the ceremony at Windsor.