Prince Harry’s sense of humor is still intact! The Duke of Sussex laughed off a question about his and Duchess Meghan’s future in the British royal family during his first public appearance since their step-down announcement.
Harry, 35, hosted the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draws for men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday, January 16, and spoke with reporters during the event. He ignored questions about his and the Duchess of Sussex’s new chapter, but laughed with “his back to the media” at one point, according to a tweet by The Sun royal correspondent Emily Andrews.
The Invictus Games founder appeared to be in good spirits at the event, which was scheduled long before he and Meghan, 38, shared their plan to step back as senior members of the royal family. He wore a navy suit, a white button-down shirt and a gray tie while watching children play rugby in the palace garden.
Harry was named a royal patron of the Rugby Football League in 2016, when he took over the role from his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who held the title for 64 years.
The former Army captain and the Suits alum, who share 8-month-old son Archie, released a joint statement via Instagram on January 8 about their plan to “become financially independent” from the royals and divide their time between the U.K. and North America.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” they said. “We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.”
After the bombshell news, Meghan remained in Canada, where she and Archie have been staying on and off since Christmas, while Harry met with the queen, 93, his father, Prince Charles, and his brother, Prince William, at Sandringham Estate on Monday, January 13, to discuss the couple’s future.
“In the end, the Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for the duchess to join [by phone],” a palace spokesman later explained to Us Weekly.
The retired actress has stayed busy, though. She made surprise visits to two women’s centers in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday, January 14.
“Meghan knew life as a royal wouldn’t be easy,” a source recently told Us. “But nothing prepared her for the constant criticism and drama and backstabbing that goes on behind palace doors.”
Scroll down to see more photos from Harry’s appearance on Thursday.