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Prince Harry Steps Out For First Public Appearance Since Royal Exit

The Duke of Sussex reportedly laughed when he was asked a question about his royal future.
The Duke of Sussex with children playing rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens in London, as he hosts the Rugby League World
The Duke of Sussex with children playing rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens in London, as he hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws.

Prince Harry made his first public appearance since announcing his plans to step back as a senior member of the royal family alongside his wife, Meghan Markle.

The Duke of Sussex hosted the Rugby League World Cup Draw for the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Prior to the draw, the prince watched as kids played rugby on the palace grounds. 

The Rugby League World Cup on Thursday introduced the “2021 Mental Fitness Charter,” described by the Sussex Royal Instagram account as “a new initiative created by the RFL that will champion the importance of good mental fitness and create sustainable legacy the sport can be proud of.”

At one point during the event, Emily Andrews, a royals reporter for The Sun, said the prince laughed off a question about his future as a royal.

“Prince Harry ignored questions from the media in BP garden about how discussions are progressing on his and Meghan’s future,” Andrews tweeted. “He had his back to the media but apparently laughed when the first question was asked. He’s still got his sense of humour!”

Harry took over as patron of the Rugby Football League in December 2016, a position that Queen Elizabeth II had previously held for 64 years.

Prince Harry with Jon Dutton (left), chief executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, and Leeds Rhino player James Simpson
Prince Harry with Jon Dutton (left), chief executive of the Rugby League World Cup 2021, and Leeds Rhino player James Simpson (right) in the Buckingham Palace gardens.
Harry poses with children from a local school after watching them play rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens before the Rugb
Harry poses with children from a local school after watching them play rugby in the Buckingham Palace gardens before the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments on Jan. 16.
Harry makes a face during the event at Buckingham Palace. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23 thr
Harry makes a face during the event at Buckingham Palace. The Rugby League World Cup 2021 will take place from October 23 through November 27, 2021, in 17 cities across England.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last Wednesday their intention to step back as “senior” members of the royal family, split their time between the U.K. and North America and work to gain financial independence. 

Following their announcement, Princes Charles, Harry and William gathered with Queen Elizabeth II at Sandringham Estate on Monday to hammer out details of Harry and Meghan’s transition. 

The Queen released a statement saying she was “entirely supportive” of her grandson and Meghan following the talks.

“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” she said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace. 

Members of the royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as they watch a fly-past to mark the centenary of the R
Members of the royal family stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as they watch a fly-past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force in London on July 10, 2018.

Across the pond, Meghan made her first official public appearance since the Sussexes’ announcement last week with a visit to a women’s center in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday. 

Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community,” the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre captioned a Facebook photo with Meghan. 

The same day, the Duchess of Sussex also made a visit to Justice for Girls, which later shared pictures with the former “Suits” actor on social media, along with details about what the group discussed.

“Yesterday, The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle visited to discuss climate justice for girls and the rights of Indigenous peoples,” the organization tweeted. “Was great to talk about the importance of a holistic approach to social justice, and the power of young women’s leadership. 

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