Prince Harry steps down from RFL role

James Gordon

Prince Harry, who helped conduct the draw for the 2021 World Cup, is to relinquish his status as Patron of the Rugby Football League.

The Duke of Sussex has been Patron since July 2017 and retained the role last year, despite stepping down as a full-time working member of the royal family.

However, the Queen has now confirmed that Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle would not “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.”

The RFL tweeted: “The Rugby Football League thanks The Duke of Sussex for his time, care and commitment in supporting Rugby League at all levels in recent years – from the children’s game to the Challenge Cup, the England teams and RLWC2021.”

Prince Harry was also patron for the Rugby Football Union, among a number of other Commonwealth, military and charitable roles.

But they may still offer their support to rugby league.

A spokesman for Harry and Meghan said: “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.”

Prince Harry presented Warrington with the Challenge Cup in 2019 at Wembley, and was part of the launch of a mental fitness charter for the sport ahead of the World Cup.

His first public appointment after quitting as a Royal was to help conduct the draw for the 2021 World Cup at Buckingham Palace, which was seen as a major coup for rugby league.