Prince Harry to attend rugby league launch in first appearance since royal split

Prince Harry will make his first public appearance today since announcing his plans to step back from the royal family. 

At midday the Duke of Sussex will host the draws for next year's Rugby League World Cup at Buckingham Palace in what is his last scheduled engagement before he and Meghan begin a "period of transition" to their new roles.

The Prince will be the face of a new mental health awareness campaign which will run during the tournament.

Everyone involved in the event will be taught how to look after their mental health.

"Rugby League isn't just a sport, it's a community," Harry said in a recorded video message released ahead of the launch.

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"And one that takes care of its own.

"For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good 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.

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"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."

Last week the 35-year-old and his 38-year-old wife announced their plans to reduce their royal duties and spend more time in North America, while also working towards becoming financially independent.

The public announcement caught the rest of the royal family by surprise and left the Queen and other senior Windsors hurt and disappointed, royal sources have said.

A friend of Harry and Meghan said the couple felt they had been driven out.

Following a family summit at Sandringham on Monday which was attended by the Queen, Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles, it was agreed that the couple would split their time between Britain and Canada.

"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 93-year-old monarch said in a rare, highly personal statement.

Currently Harry and Meghan are not allowed to seek private income.

Instead, most of their money comes from the private estate of Charles.

Meghan is currently in Canada with the couple's baby son Archie where she has carried out a couple of low-key events this week.

It is believed Harry will stay in Britain to hammer out details of their future before joining her.

On Wednesday Harry published a video announcing that the next Invictus Games would be held in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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