Britain’s Prince Harry was to make his first public appearance on Thursday since he and his wife Meghan’s bombshell decision to quit as full-time royals.
The Duke of Sussex was to host the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace, with all eyes on whether he will address the still-unresolved royal crisis.
Harry, 35, is patron of the Rugby Football League, the 13-player sport’s governing body in England, and his participation in the draw was long planned before the shock announcement last week.
The couple said they wanted to step back as senior royals, split their time between Britain and Canada, become financially independent from official royal funding and pull out of the palace’s media arrangements.
They made the announcement unilaterally on a flashy new website – without agreeing their wish-list first with Queen Elizabeth II.
The prince was summoned on Monday to a family meeting with his grandmother, father Prince Charles and brother Prince William to thrash out a way forward. The final outcome is yet to be determined.
Harry will now face the tricky decision of whether to address the crisis or not as he hosts the rugby draw from 1200 GMT.
The 16-team tournament is being hosted in England next year.
The sport’s three giants – New Zealand, Australia and England – will compete in the tournament along with Pacific islands and minnows such as Greece, Jamaica and the Cook Islands.