PRINCE Harry's loss of MORE patronages is a "psychological blow" that shows he's "past the point of no return", claims a royal expert.

Sporty Kate is set to replace the Duke of Sussex – a longstanding England fan – as patron of his beloved England rugby teams.

The rugby-mad royal, who famously celebrated England's 2003 World Cup win with the squad in Australia, was made patron at Twickenham back in 2016, after taking over the role from the Queen.

But Harry, 36, was stripped of all his patronages by the Queen when he quit his royal duties to live in America.

They included those for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL).

Dad-of-two Harry is a big fan of both codes – but Duchess of Cambridge Kate, 39, is primed to take on the RFU and RFL patronages.

Royal commentator Phil Dampier 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 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."

Mr Dampier also warned of the rugby patronage replacement: "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 him 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."

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The expert added: "I think he [Harry] will be upset and will be miss being England's rugby patron.

"He's a big fan, and I'm sure that when the dust is settled and he's been out there [the US] for a couple of years – even though he's got projects he's working on – in time he will start to miss these things and miss his mates.

"But he can't really complain because he decided to quit the UK – he can't pick and choose the things he can do – he has made his bed and has to lie in it."

Asked whether it was right that Kate took on his beloved RFU and RFL links, Mr Dampier replied that Harry might have thought it was more "appropriate for William or another male member to take the patronage.

"But Kate is very sporty herself – she loved her role as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon.

"I don't know how much of a rugby fan she is – the obvious person to have taken it on is Princess Anne, as she is a huge rugby fan – her son Peter used to play for Scotland at a junior level, and she is very much involved with the Scottish side.

"But, Princess Anne is in her 70s and has her hands full carrying out hundreds of duties a year."


Another royal expert, Richard Fitzwilliams, told The Sun that Harry and Meghan Markle were "very upset about their patronages being taken away.

"They had hoped to hang on to some.

"It's reasonable that the future king and queen consort would having patronages of some of the country's most popular sports, it makes total sense.

"Kate is very sporty – as you've seen her on tour, in Canada and Scotland – they are a sporty couple so it does makes sense."

Mr Fitzwilliams added that rugby was one of the most "important sports" in the UK, so "Harry has had to reconcile himself to the loss of the patronages – it was inevitable".

According to Royal author Adam Helliker, the loss of the rugby patronages would have been very upsetting for the Duke of Sussex.

He said: "Harry has always been keen on rugby – when he was in New Zealand, there were photos of him playing rugby with kids."

The Duke initially announced in February 2021 that he had stepped down from his role as rugby patron following Megxit.

But it's not until now that Kate has been revealed as his replacement.

Kate will be loved by the England team – but she won't be able to go the changing rooms.

However, the removal of the patronages "would have annoyed him, it is a compromise that Kate has got it.

"She will be loved by the team – but she won't be able to go the changing rooms," said Mr Helliker.

But, he believes that Harry will cope better with the patronages going to his sister-in-law than his brother, given their huge rift.

Mr Helliker added: "He will be glad its not going to William, Kate is preferable – and is a very sporty girl.

"That rift is not going away – the only communication is between Kate and Harry.

"Overall, it bangs another nail to the coffin of him not having any responsibilities.

"This is another example of, what has Harry got left? Only a handful of patronages and there is no reason for him to come back to the UK."

It's another example of Harry being pushed away.

And with the rugby league international in autumn, Mr Helliker wondered how players would respond if Harry doesn't return to watch the action at the major tournament.

He said: "I'm sure Kate will step in to that, but it's another promise unfulfilled.

"The Queen was patron of Rugby Football League for decades, she is a shining example of public service, and what has he done – after six years he's lost it.

"It's another example of Harry being pushed away and pushing himself away from normal life in England.

"What is left for him? Nothing.

"The overall feeling is that he isn't pulling his weight and doesn't even want to be friends with the family. It doesn't bode well."

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