Prince Harry jokes around as he puts on brave face in first appearance since royal crisis

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PRINCE HARRY arrived to Buckingham Palace to carry out his first engagement since his bombshell statement just a few hours after it was announced his support to a new mental health campaign.

Prince Harry is today hosting the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw at Buckingham Palace. As patron of the Rugby Football League, the Duke of Sussex is at the centre of the attention, while representatives from all 21 nations taking part in the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions will be in attendance. Prince Harry was spotted in the garden of Buckingham Palace ahead of the draw, speaking with members of the League as he watched youngsters playing in a pitch created in the backyard of the Queen’s palace. 

The draw takes place as the Rugby League World Cup 2021 announced the launch of its Mental Fitness Charter, an initiative which will promote mental wellbeing across the community of players, coaches and families.

And Prince Harry, who has been working for years on changing the conversation surrounding mental health, has backed the launch, becoming the face of this new campaign.

In a video shared on social media by the Rugby League’s official account, Harry praised this initiative for helping to change “getting rid of the stigma” surrounding mental health issues. 

He said: “Rugby League isn’t just a sport, it’s a community. 

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Prince Harry was seen joking around ahead of the draw (Image: SKY NEWS)

Prince Harry in the car arriving at Buckingham Palace

Prince Harry arriving at Buckingham Palace (Image: LNP)

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Prince Harry is the patron of the Rugby Football League (Image: Rugby League World Cup 2021)

“And one that takes care of its own.

“For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting food mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mindset for everyone involved in the sport.

“So I am proud to support the Rugby League World Cup 2021 Mental Fitness Charter. 

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Prince Harry speaking to members of the Rugby League at Buckingham Palace (Image: GETTY)

Prince Harry news

Prince Harry joked about having his stud checked before the draw (Image: SKY NEWS)

“This is the first time that a major international sporting event has a central Charter focusing on the mental fitness of players, coaches, fans and communities hosting the matches.

“This Charter will build on the brilliant work already happening in Rugby League by committing to training and educating all those involved in the tournament, and the wider Rugby League family, not only in how they can look after their own mental fitness but also support others to do the same.

“This includes delivering mental fitness workshops to eight thousand young Rugby League players and their family, and training grass roots coaches.

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Meghan and Harry have announced last Wednesday their intention to step down as senior royals (Image: GETTY)

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Prince Harry has been supporting a change in the conversation surrounding mental health for years (Image: GETTY)

“And to ensure the message is passed on internationally, all 21 participating nations will be encouraged to take their experiences back home and develop mental fitness awareness programmes within their own communities.

“The perception of Rugby League is that you need to be tough, you can’t show your feelings, you have to grin and bear it.

“But something like the Mental Fitness Charter will help us make real progress in getting rid of the stigma associated with mental illness and remind people that it’s not about being physically fit but more importantly mentally strong.” 

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s romance – a timeline (Image: EXPRESS)

Prince Harry’s leading role in the draw was announced earlier this month by Rugby League World Cup 2021 chief executive Jon Dutton.

He said: “We are delighted and honoured that The Duke of Sussex will be hosting the draws from one of the most famous landmarks in the world.

“His achievements in driving inclusivity in sport with the Invictus Games and his wider projects within rugby league makes him the perfect fit for the draw.”

This is not the only royal duty Prince Harry will carry out this month, according to a source. 

prince harry news rugby league world cup draw mental fitness charter meghan markle latest

Meghan returned to Canada last Thursday (Image: GETTY)

They told PA: “The duke has some meetings here early next week.”

This could mean that Prince Harry won’t see Meghan and his son Archie for a few more days.

The Duchess of Sussex returned to Canada last Thursday, where her son had remained in the care of a nanny.     

Source: EXPRESS CO UK