PRINCE Harry says it was only the coronavirus that kept him from returning to the UK – after he vowed to return home for the Rugby Union World Cup.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, joined a Zoom call with Rugby Football League staff and volunteers to mark the sport’s 125th anniversary.
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To mark the occasion, Prince Harry joined the game’s players, coaches and volunteers to lead a special Zoom virtual quiz.
Speaking from his Santa Barbara mansion, the Duke of Sussex said: “We have quite a Rugby League World Cup next year.
“I really plan to come back. I would have already been back without Covid. ”
Harry continued to express his love for the game, and said the sport had “flourished” since its birth in 1895.
I would have already been back without Covid
Prince Harry on his return to England
He said: “Watching Rugby League is exhausting.
“Look, I spent 10 years in the military, I know what endurance is. But this is madness.
“Full respect for everyone who plays the game, I think it’s amazing, and a lot of people would be jealous if they weren’t part of this community. “
Harry continued, “It can bring so many families together, bring so many people together.
“It doesn’t matter if you are in the stands, whether you are the gardener, whether you are a player, whether you are a fan or whether you are an observer for the first time, each person is bound by this feeling of family”.
Just days after announcing that he would be stepping down from royal duties with his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke of Sussex hosted the World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace.
The Rugby World Cup will take place in England from October 23 to November 27 next year.
It comes as a royal expert has claimed Meghan and Harry are set to cross the pond next summer to see the unveiling of a new statue of Princess Diana.
Appearing on the Heirpod podcast, royal author Omid Scobie – who co-wrote the biography Finding Freedom – claimed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had “many reasons” to be based in the UK in the summer next.
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He explained: “In March we have the Invictus Games, which have been postponed, in The Hague.
“In June we have Trooping the Color, which I imagine Prince Harry and Meghan would always love to be, and on July 1 we have the unveiling of the Princess Diana statue.
He added: “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the Sussexes spend an extended period in the UK next year. “