MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry are supposed to be settling into their new life in LA, so it may have come as a bit of a shock when the Duke appeared to be showing his support for Oxford United last week.
That is, in the form of a cardboard cut-out placed into the stands of Oxford Kassam Stadium.
Footballers up and down the country have had to get used to playing games in relative silence as crowds are not yet permitted to watch matches in person.
The government rules have meant that players, therefore, are playing to empty stadiums, which is sure to have some effect on morale and atmosphere.
To help mitigate this, some clubs have resorted to putting cardboard cut-ours of footie fans in the stands for games.
While this might help the players themselves feel more motivated out on the pitch, it also has the added benefit of giving fans a vicarious thrill.
Oxford went a step further, placing the Duke’s cardboard head amongst others to watch Oxford United narrowly beat Portsmouth in a penalty shoot-out in last night’s match.
Prince Harry watching on at the 2014 Brazil world cup (Image: Jeff Gross / Getty)
It’s part of the team’s ‘Fans at the Game’ initiative, which allows supporters to order a cardboard cut-out of their choosing for a fee of £25 and have it placed in a seat on their behalf.
It’s unclear who ordered the Duke’s likeness to be placed at that particular game.
But it’s unlikely to have been Prince Harry himself; the Duke is said to be an Arsenal fan.
Prince William, meanwhile, is understood to be an Aston Villa supporter.
Prince Harry appeared on a cardboard cut out (Image: GETTY)
But Prince Harry’s ‘appearance’ at the Oxford stadium yesterday is not the first time such a stunt has been pulled off.
In late June, both ‘Harry’ and ‘Meghan Markle’ were spotted in the stands on Sunday 28 June when Nottingham Forest played Huddersfield Town.
The Sussexes appeared amongst a crowd of loyal supporters in what looked to be prime pitch-side seats.
The ‘support’ of the two royals seemed to go down well on Twitter, with one fan commenting that it was “great to see Meghan and Harry enjoying their first visit to the city ground”.
Meghan and Harry are now living in Los Angeles (Image: EXPRESS)
However, eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed one small issue… the cut-outs are clearly in the wrong positions.
While the ‘Meghan’ cut-out was placed to Harry’s left, one of Harry’s arms is on her other side.
Again, it’s unlikely to be the case that it was Meghan and Harry themselves that paid for the honour; chances are a fan with a sense of humour was behind the playful stunt.
But then again, who knows? Stranger things have happened, and perhaps the Duke is missing the atmosphere of a British game from across the pond.
Stands at matches have been empty due to coronavirus rules. (Image: Catherine Ivill / Getty)
Also ‘present’ at that particular match was a cardboard cut-out of Manchester United legend Roy Keane.
Prince Harry and Prince William both have a connection to football and to sport more widely.
The Duke of Sussex is a patron of the Rugby Football League, for example, while Prince William is president of the Football Association.
Following their win last night, Oxford United have reached the League One play-off final.
They’ll take on Wycombe Wanders at Wembley Stadium on Monday, 13 July. Perhaps the royals will make an ‘appearance’ then, as well.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK