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Thursday 23rd January 2020

Prince Harry makes first public appearance since announcing 'split from royals'

It's been an intense week for the Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan

It's been a rollercoaster week for Prince Harry, but he managed a smile during his first public appearance since announcing his intention to step down from being a senior member of the royal family.

On Thursday (January 16), the Duke of Sussex hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw at Buckingham Palace which started at midday.

Prince Harry hosted the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draws at Buckingham Palace (Credit: Splash)

Read more: Meghan makes surprise visit to women's centre amid royal 'crisis'

In his role of patron of the Rugby Football League, Prince Harry was present at the draws for the men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments - which will be held in the UK - at Buckingham Palace.

The impact it has on young people and community as a whole is remarkable.

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE and Jason Robinson OBE were also present.

While there, Harry met with representatives of the 21 nations taking part and local children playing rugby.

Harry arrived at Buckingham Palace in a sharp blue suit and managed a smile (Credit: Splash)

Read more: The 'real reason' the Queen left out Meghan and Harry's royal titles in statement

Harry drew Samoa first, meaning they will play England in the opening game on Saturday 21 in Group A.

According to The Mirror, when asked about the tournament, Harry said: "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.

"Whether it's rugby league or sport in general, it needs to be in everyone's lives."

Could this be Prince Harry's last official appearance? (Credit: Splash)

In the lead up to the draw, Harry was seen chatting to the youngsters during a pause in their exhibition match.

He subtly avoided all questions on his future within the monarchy when asked by those journalists present.

Harry's appearance at the event is his first since he and wife Meghan announced their intentions to step back from their senior roles in the royal family.

The Sussexes have said they want to become financially independent and intend to split their time between Britain and Canada.

The announcement led to a two-hour Sandringham summit, after which the Queen released a rare statement where she said: "Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

"My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. 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."

The details of the 'split' have yet to be agreed on, as the move is so unprecedented.

Earlier today, Prince Harry broke his social media silence to announce that Düsseldorf in Germany will be "the new home for the 2022 and sixth Invictus Games".

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