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Prince Harry resurfaces but stays silent on royal rumpus

Prince Harry resurfaces but stays silent on royal rumpus

AFP
London
Prince Harry kept silent on Thursday about the shock decision he and his wife took last week to quit as full-time royals at his first public appearance since the bombshell announcement.
Harry, 35, took part in the draw for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in an engagement at Buckingham Palace in London, planned long before he and Meghan triggered the still-unresolved royal crisis. He appeared relaxed and jovial despite the tumult surrounding him, with final decisions on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s future due within days.
After struggling in the spotlight, the couple said they wanted to step back as senior royals and split their time between Britain and Canada.
They also said they wanted to become financially independent from official royal funding and pull out of the palace’s media arrangements.
They made the announcement unilaterally on a new website -- without first checking with Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.
Heading inside after meeting schoolchildren playing rugby on the lawns of the queen’s official London residence, he said: “Look after the grass though, yeah? Otherwise I’ll get in trouble.” A reporter shouted out: “How are the discussions going on your future?” but Harry did not reply nor did he say anything on the crisis during the competition draw. He got a laugh as he turned his back to stir the mini-rugby balls with the participating countries’ names inside.
A jocular Harry then pretended to stir them as if with a spoon, stopped and said: “This is not a cooking show.” A December photograph of the queen with Harry’s father Prince Charles, brother Prince William and nephew Prince George stirring Christmas puddings at Buckingham Palace was reportedly a factor that led to Harry feeling edged out of the institution’s future.
Harry is patron of the Rugby Football League, the sport’s governing body in England. “Not only do I continue to see sport actually changing lives, but it’s saving lives as well,” he said.
Jon Dutton, chief executive of the 16-team tournament, hoped Harry’s reduced role in the royal engagements would not affect his involvement with the World Cup, which takes place in October and November next year.