Prince Harry has said he ‘definitely would have been back’ to the UK ‘were it not for COVID-19 crisis in a new video released to mark Rugby League’s 125th birthday.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, joined a virtual call alongside staff and volunteers from the Rugby Football League from his $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara where he is currently living with Meghan Markle, 39.
Prince Harry hosted his first ever Zoom quiz to mark the occasion, and joked that if he had been taking part ‘he would have had the rest of my family on the other side of the family.’
He added: ‘We’ve got a whole Rugby League world cup coming next year. I definitely plan on coming back. I would have been back already had it not been for Covid.’
Prince Harry, 35, hosted his first ever Zoom quiz during a video call to mark Rugby League’s 125th birthday. The royal spoke from his $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara
During the video call, the Duke, who is appeared in high spirits as he asked the group about how they’d been keeping fit, admitting: ‘It’s been hard right?’
He also invited the first Black head coach of a major UK sports team and former Rugby League player, Ellery Hanley to the virtual event.
The Duke expressed his admiration for the way Rugby League people have come together in this period ‘as a family’ and how the sport has thrived over 125 years – and his particular admiration for the speed and bravery of the players and the contribution the sport makes to its communities.
He said: ‘Watching Rugby League is exhausting. Listen I spent 10 years in the army, I know what endurance is all about. But it’s madness.
The Duke is currently living in his $14 million mansion in Santa Barbara with Meghan Markle, 39, and their son Archie, one
‘Full respect to anyone that plays the game, I think it’s amazing, and a lot of people would be jealous not to be part of that community.’
The Duke of Sussex praised the sport during the phone call and said he ‘would have been back already had it not been for Covid’
Omid Scobie, co-author of bombshell biography Finding Freedom, said the Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, had ‘many reasons to be based in the UK’ in the spring and summer of 2021.
Speaking on the Heirpod podcast, Omid said: ‘In March, we have the Invictus Games, which has been rescheduled, in the Hague. In June, we have Trooping the Colour, which I imagine Prince Harry and Meghan would like to still be at, and July 1, we have the unveiling of the [Princess Diana] statue.’
Speaking on the podcast, Omid revealed: ‘I would not be surprised if we saw the Sussexes spend an extended period of time in the UK next year.’
He went on to discuss several engagements for the couple spanning across the spring and summer period, including appearances in The Hague and the UK, before adding: ‘There are many reasons for them to be based in the UK for that period, depending on whether travel will be back to normal.’
It comes after Omid Scobie said Meghan and Prince Harry are likely to spend ‘an extended period of time in the UK next year’ to attend Trooping the Colour and the unveiling of the new Princess Diana statue
Omid had previously claimed the Duke and Duchess would return to the UK to resume their charity work once lockdown travel restrictions ease.
Speaking to Royal Central, Scobie said the couple ‘love to get out there and be active in the field’.
‘Harry and Meghan have made it clear that their work in the UK, including their royal patronages, will continue,’ he explained.
‘While their base will be in the US, I think once travel restrictions ease we will see them moving around again and undertaking trips to the UK, both privately and professionally.’
The co-author of Finding Freedom has previously claimed the couple would return to the UK when travel restrictions ease amid the coronavirus pandemic
He added: ‘A lot of the work they already started, including all four of Meghan’s patronages, are right here on British soil.’
But despite Scobie pointing out the Queen has told the couple, who stepped down as senior members of the Firm in March, that the door ‘is open’, he said he doesn’t believe they’ll return to the UK as full-time working royals.
He said: ‘The Sussexes are more engaged in the issues that matter to them than ever, the work on Archewell–their non-profit organisation–continues, and, as we have recently seen, they have established a permanent family base in California.
‘The UK will always be important to them, but I don’t think we’ll ever see that happen again as working royals.’