Prince Harry has refused to comment on the future at his first official engagement since he and his wife Meghan Markle announced plans to step back as senior members of the royal family.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, was hosting the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday when a reporter was caught on camera posing a question about his future role in the monarchy.
“How are the discussions going on your future?” the reporter can be heard calling out to the prince, who was making his way back into the palace after chatting to youngsters and posing for photos on the lawn.
Harry, however, didn’t break his stride and appeared to ignore the question entirely, continuing to climb the steps with his back to the crowd of media gathered below.
But according to Richard Palmer, royal reporter for The Express, whose colleague was facing the Duke, Harry “laughed out loud” at the inquiry.
“Prince Harry ignored questions from the media about how discussions are progressing on his and Meghan’s future,” Richard revealed on Twitter.
“He had his back to us by then but I am told by a colleague on the other side that Harry laughed out loud when the first question was asked,” he wrote in another tweet.
He had his back to us by then but I am told by a colleague on the other side that Harry laughed out loud when the first question was asked.— Richard Palmer (@RoyalReporter) January 16, 2020
Emily Andrews, royal correspondent for The Sun, took to Twitter to back up Richard’s claim, remarking that the prince has “still got his sense of humour!”
While he didn’t address the plans he and Meghan have for their lives post-Megxit, the Duke appeared to be in good spirits during the outing, smiling and laughing with children before watching them play a game.
He was pictured arriving at the event dressed smartly in a navy suit paired with a white shirt and grey tie and shot a smile at the cameras as he entered.
Prince Harry ignored questions from the media in BP garden about how discussions are progressing on his and Meghan’s future. He had his back to the media but apparently laughed when the first question was asked. He’s still got his sense of humour! 😃 😊 pic.twitter.com/yjOHkfrHIa— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) January 16, 2020
Harry discussed the importance of rugby and sport in general in terms of the impact on physical and mental health in light of the Rugby League World Cup’s new ‘Mental Fitness Charter’ which was announced earlier the same day.
“From my perspective, from my experience in my younger years and with the Invictus Games and all the sporting events I'm lucky enough to go to, the impact it has on young people and community as a whole is remarkable,” Harry, who was announced Patron of the Rugby Football League in December 2016, said.
“Whether it's rugby league or sport in general, it needs to be in everyone's lives,” he added.
Prince Harry's public appearance today is his first since he and Meghan announced their intentions to step back from their senior roles in the royal family.
The couple said they wanted to become “financially independent” and intend to split their time between the UK and Canada.
The surprise announcement led to crisis discussions earlier this week at Sandringham with other senior royals, after which the Queen released a rare statement saying she and the family were “entirely supportive” of Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision, but adding that there was still much to work out.
Harry is currently in his own in the UK and unveiled the new location of the 2022 Invictus Games in an Instagram video on Wednesday.
Meghan, however, flew back to Vancouver Island last Thursday, rejoining baby Archie who had stayed there with a nanny when the couple returned to London in early January to announce their bombshell news.
Harry will reportedly remain in London until next week for “some meetings,” a source told the PA news agency, although it is not known what form these meetings will take.
Additional reporting by Marie Claire Dorking.
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