The Independent

Prince Harry opens up about mental health as he carries out first engagement since royal announcement

The Independent

The Duke of Sussex has championed the importance of mental health awareness in sport as part of his first public engagement since his and the Duchess of Sussex’s recent announcement.

Last week, the royal couple shared a statement outlining their plans to step down as “senior” members of the royal family.

Just over a week since their news made headlines across the globe, Prince Harry is to carry out his first official solo engagement, hosting the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw at Buckingham Palace.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

The duke, who is patron of the Rugby Football League, will meet representatives from all 21 nations taking part as he hosts the draws for the women’s, men’s and wheelchair tournaments at the world cup, which is due to take place in England.

Social media users will be able to watch the draws live from the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the royal family and the Rugby League World Cup.

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 has announced plans to launch a “mental fitness charter” for the event, making it the first global sporting tournament to do so.

The five-point mental health initiative will be implemented to educate players, officials and volunteers on how they can take care of their mental health and the mental health of others.

The charter will provide mental health awareness workshops for 8,000 rugby league players and their families, in addition to training for grass roots coaches so that they can offer mental fitness workshops to players outside of the world cup.

The duke offered his support for the initiative in a video released to mark the mental fitness charter launch, emphasising that Rugby League “isn’t just a sport, it’s a community”.

Shape Created with Sketch. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – in pictures

Show all 55

left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch.

Shape Created with Sketch. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – in pictures

1/55 September 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. The Invictus Games is an international sport event for wounded, injured and sick (WIS) servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. It was created by the Duke of Sussex and aims to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of all those who serve their country

Invictus Games Foundation/Getty

2/55 November 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace following the announcement of their engagement

AFP/Getty

3/55 November 2017

Meghan Markle shows off her engagement ring

AFP via Getty

4/55 December 2017

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene in King’s Lynn

Getty

5/55 January 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan during a visit to Reprezent 107.3FM in Pop Brixton. The Reprezent training programme was established in Peckham in 2008, in response to the alarming rise in knife crime, to help young people develop and socialise through radio

Getty

6/55 January 2018

Meghan Markle greets well-wishers on arrival at Cardiff Castle for a day showcasing the rich culture and heritage of Wales

AFP via Getty

7/55 January 2018

The couple watching a dance performance by Jukebox Collective during their to Cardiff Castle

AFP via Getty

8/55 February 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk through the corridors of the Palace of Holyroodhouse on their way to a reception for young people in Edinburgh. The reception celebrated youth achievements, marking Scotlands Year of Young People 2018, an initiative that aims to inspire Scotland through its young people: celebrating their achievements, strengthening their voice on social issues and creating new opportunities for them to shine

AFP

9/55 February 2018

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William at the first annual Royal Foundation Forum in London. Under the theme ‘Making a Difference Together’, the event showcased the programmes run or initiated by The Royal Foundation

Getty

10/55 March 2018

Prince William, Kate, Meghan and Prince Harry attend a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

AFP via Getty

11/55 March 2018

Meghan Markle greets well-wishers after a visit to one of Belfast’s most historic buildings, The Crown Liquor Saloon, a former Victorian gin palace, now run by the National Trust. It was the Royal couple’s first joint visit to Northern Ireland

AFP via Getty

12/55 April 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet participants as they attend the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath

AFP via Getty Images

13/55 May 2018

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland arriving at Cliveden House Hotel the night before her wedding to Prince Harry

Getty

14/55 May 2018

Royal fans sing for the television in Windsor the day before the Royal wedding

AFP via Getty

15/55 May 2018

Meghan Markle walks down the aisle in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, during her wedding

AFP via Getty

16/55 May 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand facing each other hand-in-hand before Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during their wedding ceremony

AFP via Getty

17/55 May 2018

Prince Harry kisses the Duchess of Sussex, as they pass through the Cambridge Gate into the grounds of Windsor Castle at the end of their carriage procession

AFP via Getty

18/55 May 2018

The newly married royals leave Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House

AFP via Getty

19/55 June 2018

Queen Elizabeth II sitts and laughs with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire

Getty

20/55 June 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan return in a horse-drawn carriage after attending the Queen’s Birthday Parade, ‘Trooping the Colour’ on Horseguards parade

AFP via Getty

21/55 July 2018

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch the RAF flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as members of the Royal Family attend events to mark the centenary of the RAF

Chris Jackson/Getty

22/55 July 2018

Meghan and Prince Harry kiss after the Sentebale Polo event that was held at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club

Getty

23/55 August 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet the cast and crew of “Hamilton” backstage after the gala performance in support of Sentebale at Victoria Palace Theatre

Getty

24/55 September 2018

Meghan meets 7-year-old Matilda Booth during the annual WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel in London

Getty

25/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan meet 98-year-old Daphne Dunne during a meet and greet at the Sydney Opera House during an official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand

Getty

26/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan meet a koala named Ruby and its koala joey named Meghan after the Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney

AFP via Getty

27/55 October 2018

Prince Harry looks on as his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is hugged by student Luke Vincent of Buninyong Public School following the couple’s arrival at Dubbo Regional Airport in Dubbo

AFP via Getty

28/55 October 2018

Harry and his wife Meghan watch aboriginal dances at Victoria Park in Dubbo

AFP via Getty

29/55 October 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet with lifeguards at South Melbourne Beach. BeachPatrol is a network of volunteers who are passionate about keeping Melbourne’s beaches and foreshores clear of litter to reduce the negative impact of litter on the marine environment and food chain, and provide a safe environment for the public to enjoy their local beach

Getty

30/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan join a circle during a “Fluro Friday” session run by OneWave, a local surfing community group who raise awareness for mental health and wellbeing, at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach

AFP

31/55 October 2018

The British royals kicked off their shoes and donned tropical garlands on Bondi Beach

AFP via Getty

32/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan visit an exhibition of Tongan handicrafts, mats and tapa cloths at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Getty

33/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan laying a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand

Getty

34/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan visit Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua

AFP via Getty

35/55 November 2018

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at a service marking the centenary of WW1 armistice at Westminster Abbey

Getty

36/55 February 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, visit the Kasbah of the Udayas near the Moroccan capital Rabat

AFP via Getty

37/55 March 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan speak on stage during WE Day UK 2019 at The SSE Arena in London

Getty

38/55 March 2019

Meghan and Prince Harry react as they are presented with baby gifts by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Janice Charette, at Canada House, during an event to mark Commonwealth Day, in central London

AFP via Getty

39/55 May 2019

A congratulatory banner message circling the BT Tower reading “Congratulations Harry and Meghan It’s a Baby Boy!”

AFP via Getty

40/55 May 2019

Footmen Stephen Kelly and Sarah Thompson set up an official notice on an easel at the gates of Buckingham Palace on May 6, announcing the birth of a son to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

AFP via Getty

41/55 May 2019

Pround parents pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth at 5:26 on 6 May

Getty

42/55 May 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan walk away after posing for photographs with their newborn son

AFP via Getty

43/55 June 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan join the New York Yankees in their clubhouse and receive gifts for Archie ahead of their match against the Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium. The historic two-game series marked the sport’s first games ever played in Europe and The Invictus Games Foundation was selected as the official charity of Mitel and MLB London Series 2019

Invictus Games Foundation/Getty

44/55 July 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan meet cast and crew, including US singer-songwriter Beyonce and her husband, US rapper Jay-Z as they attend the European premiere of the film The Lion King in London

AFP via Getty

45/55 September 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dance as they arrive for a visit to the “Justice desk”, an NGO in the township of Nyanga in Cape Town, as they begin their tour of the region. Their first official family visit in the coastal city

AFP via Getty

46/55 September 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan pose with members of “Waves For Change” NGO at Monwabisi Beach outside of Cape Town. “Waves For Change” NGO fuses surfing with child-friendly mind and body therapy to provide mental health services to vulnerable young people living in challenging communities

AFP via Getty

47/55 September 2019

The royals arrive to visit the oldest mosque of Cape Town in Dorp Street in Bo Kaap district

AFP via Getty

48/55 September 2019

The Duchess of Sussex visits Auwal Mosque on Heritage Day with the Duke of Sussex during their royal tour of South Africa. Auwal Mosque is the first and oldest mosque in South Africa and for the Muslim community, this mosque symbolises the freedom of former slaves to worship

Getty

49/55 September 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan hold their baby son Archie as they meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah at the Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town

AFP via Getty

50/55 September 2019

The British royal couple were on a 10-day tour of southern Africa — their first official visit as a family since their son Archie was born

AFP via Getty

51/55 October 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan meet Graca Machel, widow of the late Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Duke last met with Mrs Machel during his visit to South Africa in 2015

Getty

52/55 October 2019

Meghan and Prince Harry attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queens Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle

Getty

53/55 December 2019

Prince Harry holding his son Archie. The photo was used on Instagram to wish their followers a happy new year

SussexRoyal/PA

54/55 January 2020

Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart Canada House in London after visiting to show thanks for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada

Getty

55/55 January 2020

Front page headlines, from UK daily papers, reporting on the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, plan to step back as “senior” members of the Royal Family

AFP via Getty

1/55 September 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. The Invictus Games is an international sport event for wounded, injured and sick (WIS) servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. It was created by the Duke of Sussex and aims to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding of all those who serve their country

Invictus Games Foundation/Getty

2/55 November 2017

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for a photograph in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace following the announcement of their engagement

AFP/Getty

3/55 November 2017

Meghan Markle shows off her engagement ring

AFP via Getty

4/55 December 2017

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene in King’s Lynn

Getty

5/55 January 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan during a visit to Reprezent 107.3FM in Pop Brixton. The Reprezent training programme was established in Peckham in 2008, in response to the alarming rise in knife crime, to help young people develop and socialise through radio

Getty

6/55 January 2018

Meghan Markle greets well-wishers on arrival at Cardiff Castle for a day showcasing the rich culture and heritage of Wales

AFP via Getty

7/55 January 2018

The couple watching a dance performance by Jukebox Collective during their to Cardiff Castle

AFP via Getty

8/55 February 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk through the corridors of the Palace of Holyroodhouse on their way to a reception for young people in Edinburgh. The reception celebrated youth achievements, marking Scotlands Year of Young People 2018, an initiative that aims to inspire Scotland through its young people: celebrating their achievements, strengthening their voice on social issues and creating new opportunities for them to shine

AFP

9/55 February 2018

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William at the first annual Royal Foundation Forum in London. Under the theme ‘Making a Difference Together’, the event showcased the programmes run or initiated by The Royal Foundation

Getty

10/55 March 2018

Prince William, Kate, Meghan and Prince Harry attend a Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey

AFP via Getty

11/55 March 2018

Meghan Markle greets well-wishers after a visit to one of Belfast’s most historic buildings, The Crown Liquor Saloon, a former Victorian gin palace, now run by the National Trust. It was the Royal couple’s first joint visit to Northern Ireland

AFP via Getty

12/55 April 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet participants as they attend the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath

AFP via Getty Images

13/55 May 2018

Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland arriving at Cliveden House Hotel the night before her wedding to Prince Harry

Getty

14/55 May 2018

Royal fans sing for the television in Windsor the day before the Royal wedding

AFP via Getty

15/55 May 2018

Meghan Markle walks down the aisle in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, during her wedding

AFP via Getty

16/55 May 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand facing each other hand-in-hand before Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby during their wedding ceremony

AFP via Getty

17/55 May 2018

Prince Harry kisses the Duchess of Sussex, as they pass through the Cambridge Gate into the grounds of Windsor Castle at the end of their carriage procession

AFP via Getty

18/55 May 2018

The newly married royals leave Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House

AFP via Getty

19/55 June 2018

Queen Elizabeth II sitts and laughs with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire

Getty

20/55 June 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan return in a horse-drawn carriage after attending the Queen’s Birthday Parade, ‘Trooping the Colour’ on Horseguards parade

AFP via Getty

21/55 July 2018

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watch the RAF flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as members of the Royal Family attend events to mark the centenary of the RAF

Chris Jackson/Getty

22/55 July 2018

Meghan and Prince Harry kiss after the Sentebale Polo event that was held at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club

Getty

23/55 August 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet the cast and crew of “Hamilton” backstage after the gala performance in support of Sentebale at Victoria Palace Theatre

Getty

24/55 September 2018

Meghan meets 7-year-old Matilda Booth during the annual WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel in London

Getty

25/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan meet 98-year-old Daphne Dunne during a meet and greet at the Sydney Opera House during an official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand

Getty

26/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan meet a koala named Ruby and its koala joey named Meghan after the Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney

AFP via Getty

27/55 October 2018

Prince Harry looks on as his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, is hugged by student Luke Vincent of Buninyong Public School following the couple’s arrival at Dubbo Regional Airport in Dubbo

AFP via Getty

28/55 October 2018

Harry and his wife Meghan watch aboriginal dances at Victoria Park in Dubbo

AFP via Getty

29/55 October 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet with lifeguards at South Melbourne Beach. BeachPatrol is a network of volunteers who are passionate about keeping Melbourne’s beaches and foreshores clear of litter to reduce the negative impact of litter on the marine environment and food chain, and provide a safe environment for the public to enjoy their local beach

Getty

30/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan join a circle during a “Fluro Friday” session run by OneWave, a local surfing community group who raise awareness for mental health and wellbeing, at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach

AFP

31/55 October 2018

The British royals kicked off their shoes and donned tropical garlands on Bondi Beach

AFP via Getty

32/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan visit an exhibition of Tongan handicrafts, mats and tapa cloths at the Fa’onelua Convention Centre in Nuku’alofa, Tonga

Getty

33/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan laying a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington, New Zealand

Getty

34/55 October 2018

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan visit Redwoods Tree Walk in Rotorua

AFP via Getty

35/55 November 2018

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at a service marking the centenary of WW1 armistice at Westminster Abbey

Getty

36/55 February 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, visit the Kasbah of the Udayas near the Moroccan capital Rabat

AFP via Getty

37/55 March 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan speak on stage during WE Day UK 2019 at The SSE Arena in London

Getty

38/55 March 2019

Meghan and Prince Harry react as they are presented with baby gifts by Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Janice Charette, at Canada House, during an event to mark Commonwealth Day, in central London

AFP via Getty

39/55 May 2019

A congratulatory banner message circling the BT Tower reading “Congratulations Harry and Meghan It’s a Baby Boy!”

AFP via Getty

40/55 May 2019

Footmen Stephen Kelly and Sarah Thompson set up an official notice on an easel at the gates of Buckingham Palace on May 6, announcing the birth of a son to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

AFP via Getty

41/55 May 2019

Pround parents pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. The Duchess of Sussex gave birth at 5:26 on 6 May

Getty

42/55 May 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan walk away after posing for photographs with their newborn son

AFP via Getty

43/55 June 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan join the New York Yankees in their clubhouse and receive gifts for Archie ahead of their match against the Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium. The historic two-game series marked the sport’s first games ever played in Europe and The Invictus Games Foundation was selected as the official charity of Mitel and MLB London Series 2019

Invictus Games Foundation/Getty

44/55 July 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan meet cast and crew, including US singer-songwriter Beyonce and her husband, US rapper Jay-Z as they attend the European premiere of the film The Lion King in London

AFP via Getty

45/55 September 2019

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dance as they arrive for a visit to the “Justice desk”, an NGO in the township of Nyanga in Cape Town, as they begin their tour of the region. Their first official family visit in the coastal city

AFP via Getty

46/55 September 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan pose with members of “Waves For Change” NGO at Monwabisi Beach outside of Cape Town. “Waves For Change” NGO fuses surfing with child-friendly mind and body therapy to provide mental health services to vulnerable young people living in challenging communities

AFP via Getty

47/55 September 2019

The royals arrive to visit the oldest mosque of Cape Town in Dorp Street in Bo Kaap district

AFP via Getty

48/55 September 2019

The Duchess of Sussex visits Auwal Mosque on Heritage Day with the Duke of Sussex during their royal tour of South Africa. Auwal Mosque is the first and oldest mosque in South Africa and for the Muslim community, this mosque symbolises the freedom of former slaves to worship

Getty

49/55 September 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan hold their baby son Archie as they meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his wife Leah at the Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town

AFP via Getty

50/55 September 2019

The British royal couple were on a 10-day tour of southern Africa — their first official visit as a family since their son Archie was born

AFP via Getty

51/55 October 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan meet Graca Machel, widow of the late Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Duke last met with Mrs Machel during his visit to South Africa in 2015

Getty

52/55 October 2019

Meghan and Prince Harry attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality with The Queens Commonwealth Trust (QCT) and One Young World at Windsor Castle

Getty

53/55 December 2019

Prince Harry holding his son Archie. The photo was used on Instagram to wish their followers a happy new year

SussexRoyal/PA

54/55 January 2020

Duke and Duchess of Sussex depart Canada House in London after visiting to show thanks for the warm hospitality and support they received during their recent stay in Canada

Getty

55/55 January 2020

Front page headlines, from UK daily papers, reporting on the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, plan to step back as “senior” members of the Royal Family

AFP via Getty

“For many years, it has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting good mental fitness, working hard to build a positive mindset for everyone involved in the sport,” the 35-year-old said in the video.

“This charter will build on the brilliant work already happening in rugby league by committing to training and educating all those involved in the tournament, and the wider rugby league family, not only in how they can look after their own mental fitness but also support others to do the same.”

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 isn’t the only sporting event able to boast Prince Harry’s involvement this week.

On Wednesday, the duke announced plans for the 2022 Invictus Games by releasing a video on his and the duchess’ Instagram account.

The event is due to take place in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Prince Harry has spoken out about mental health awareness on several occasions in the past.

In September 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex discussed the stigma that continues to surround mental health issues while visiting Monwabisi Beach in Cape Town, South Africa as part of their royal tour of southern Africa.

A month later, Prince Harry teamed up with singer Ed Sheeran to release a mock video in support of World Mental Health Day.

On Monday, following talks at Sandringham with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry, the Queen released a statement saying she and the royal family are “entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family”.

January 16, 2020 at 01:43PM Sabrina Barr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *