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The Royals

Royal Face in the Crowd! Prince Harry Surprises Rugby Fans During Training Session

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AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Go team!

Prince Harry was in his element as he mingled with fellow rugby fans in the stands during an England Rugby training session on Friday.

The appearance marks the first time he has been with the team since he took over as patron from granny Queen Elizabeth in December.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Harry, who has been spending time with girlfriend Meghan Markle at his home base of Kensington Palace, surprised the 12,000 supporters from clubs and schools filling the stands at Twickenham stadium as he sat to watch the team train. He also met with young players involved in England Rugby’s Try for Change program.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

As he chatted to Jack Gair, 19, a sports coach from Essex who trained on the Coach Core program supported by Harry and the Royal Foundation charity, the prince asked which football team he supported.

“Man U,” said Jack, who asked the same of the royal. “Arsenal,” Harry replied — and before the teenager could say anything more, he put up his hand to signal stop and said, “I know. Let’s not talk about it.” (Arsenal didn’t do well in the Champions League this week.)

Richard Hill, the England team manager and a World Cup winner in 2003, said of the prince, “He knows the players well. Usually, he will come into the changing rooms and talk to the players.

“I think it’s important for the team that they have a patron who interacts with the group.”

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Try for Change is one of the projects the prince supports that uses sports to improve the lives of young people, especially in disadvantaged parts of the U.K. and around the world.

Also in the crowd were representatives from Rugby Football Union’s National Youth Council and Young Rugby Ambassadors (YRA) programs. The YRA program supports and encourages volunteers ages 14-25, and has over 1,300 YRAs across the country supporting their clubs, universities, colleges and schools.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Harry then headed to the field to watch the professional players train. The team is mid-way through the Six Nations rugby tournament, which also involves Scotland, Wales, Italy, France and Ireland.