Prince Harry also met with Japanese Paralympic hopefuls at a purpose-built para sports training center

By Stephanie Petit
November 02, 2019 10:08 AM

Prince Harry went the extra mile (or thousands of miles, in this case) to cheer on England’s rugby team.

The royal dad, who is patron of the Rugby Football Union, headed to Japan to see England face off against South Africa in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final on Saturday. He made the trip solo, with Meghan Markle and their nearly 6-month-old son Archie remaining home.

On the big day, Harry wore a blue suit and a pink tie, as well as a red poppy, the symbol of remembrance for World War I and veterans, in honor of Remembrance Day, which will take place later this month.

While in the stands, the royal attentively watched the game alongside Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko.

Richard Heathcote - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images
Prince Harry
Clive Rose - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images
Prince Harry
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images
(L-R) Prince Hary, Japan's Crown Prince Akishino, and Crown Princess Kiko
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images
(L-R) Prince Harry and Japan's Crown Prince Akishino
ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

Although England didn’t win the match, losing 32-12, Harry gave South African President Cyril Ramaphosa a big hug afterwards, in a sweet moment that was captured on the Sussex Royal Instagram account.

“Tonight was not England’s night, but the whole nation is incredibly proud of what @EnglandRugby have achieved over the past few months. Hold your heads high boys, you did an outstanding job and we couldn’t have asked more from you,” Harry wrote.

“To the whole of South Africa – rugby unites all of us in more ways than we can imagine, and tonight I have no doubt that it will unite all of you.  After last months visit, I can’t think of a nation that deserves it more. Well done and enjoy!” he added.

Afterwards, Harry also visited with some of the winning athletes, as he congratulated the team on their victory.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex with Tendai Mtawarira, Trevor Nyakane and Mbongeni Mbonambi of South Africa
Handout/World Rugby via Getty Images
Prince Harry with players
Handout/World Rugby via Getty Images
Prince Harry with Siya Kolisi and Tendai Mtawarira of South Africa
Handout/World Rugby via Getty Images

Before the rugby game, Prince Harry met with Japanese Paralympic hopefuls at a purpose-built para sports training center. He viewed various training sessions including wheelchair rugby, boccia and powerlifting. Harry also met a group of local schoolchildren, including from the Yokohama area, where Paralympics GB will be based for pre-Games training.

As a post on Harry’s Instagram account noted, “this was especially meaningful to His Royal Highness, who five years ago founded @WeAreInvictusGames – which uses the power of sport to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation of wounded veterans who have physical or mental injuries.”

Prince Harry
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images
Prince Harry
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Harry even shared a few joking moments with the athletes, especially when one of them shared they were rooting against England.

“You might not be getting selected,” Harry joked.

Another clip in a video shared on social media, showed the royal playfully pointing to his wedding ring after a student commented on how handsome he is.

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The trip marks Prince Harry’s first official visit to Japan — just weeks after dad Prince Charles joined royals from around the world in attending the enthronement ceremony for Japan’s Emperor Naruhito. The championship marks the first Rugby World Cup to be held in Asia, and Japan looks ahead to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer.

The Duke of Sussex, 35, was present the last time England and South Africa met in the Rugby World Cup Final in Paris in 2007. He became patron of RFU All Schools in 2013 and patron of the Rugby Football Union in 2017, succeeding his grandmother Queen Elizabeth. As a passionate supporter of the sport and the benefits it can provide for young people, Harry regularly meets with rugby volunteers and students taking part in RFU All Schools.

Earlier this week, the prince met the 65 athletes who will represent Team U.K. at the 2020 Invictus Games, a Paralympics-style competition for wounded, injured and sick service personnel.

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Harry will return to the U.K. on Sunday in preparation for Remembrance Week.

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