Sunday, 19 Sep 2021

Harry passes ‘point of no return’ to UK life as Kate ‘takes over last patronage’

Stateside Prince Harry has passed "the point of no return" and will never come back to the UK, a royal expert has claimed.

Royal commentator Phil Dampier says the Duke of Sussex has also suffered a "psychological blow" over losing his royal patronages, after his grandmother, The Queen, took away his roles at the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL), among others.

Harry, an avid rugby fan, will be crushed by this, Dampier said in a chat with The Sun.

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton has been tipped to take over those patronages, thus strengthening her position within the Firm.

Dampier said this indicates a "changing of the guard" that probably means Harry will not return to the UK.

He told The Sun Online: "The handing over of the rugby patronage brings home that Kate is very much stepping up her royal duties and taking on more and more patronages and getting a higher profile.

"It also highlights the reality of Prince Harry being replaced in some of the things he enjoyed, but it's sad in that it's taking away the things he brought to the table.

"It's another example of the changing of the guard. It's a psychological blow as it emphasises the split and it's very much final.

"The Queen had left the door open but it's past the point of no return – I can't see Harry coming back to the UK, and so yes it's another blow, and another example of what he has given up for his new life, and what it's cost him."

Dampier, who has been a royal reporter for over 35 years, said he thinks Harry will be upset by the move and will miss being England's rugby patron.

However, he conceded that the prince "has made his bed and has to lie in it."

Prince Harry, 36, was forced to give up all his patronages by the Queen earlier this year after he and his wife Meghan Markle stepped down from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family.

The Duke of Sussex is a big rugby fan and previously flew to Japan in 2019 to watch England compete against South Africa in the World Cup Final.

The news of Kate's new role is reportedly set to be announced before the Rugby League World Cup in October this year.

A royal insider told The Times: "Kate would be the perfect choice."

It's also been reported that Kate will champion the Rugby Football Union's Inner Warrior campaign, which is designed to help clubs recruit female players.

Prince Harry held the patronages for five years. The Duke took over as Rugby Football Union patron in 2016 from The Queen, who previously held the role for 64 years.

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He also held the title of Rugby Football League patron since July 2017.

Representatives for the Sussexes have been approached for comment.

A statement issued by the Royal family at the time of the stripping of the patronages read: "Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.

"The honorary military appointments and Royal patronages held by The Duke and Duchess will therefore be returned to Her Majesty, before being redistributed among working members of The Royal Family."

Harry also lost his military titles of Honorary Air Commandant at RAF Honington, Captain-General of the Marines and Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving.

Meghan also lost patronages linked with the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, Royal National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

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