Prince Harry's charities given advanced notice of his split from the palace to ensure their support

Jamie Johnson
The RFU says that Prince Harry will continue to be its patron - Reuters

Buckingham Palace contacted Prince Harry’s charities and organisations to allay fears that he would abandon them ahead of the shock announcement that he would be stepping back from Royal duties and relocating to Canada.

The Duke is patron of 16 organisations, including the Rugby Football Union, Rhino Conservation Botswana and the Invictus Games Foundation, but questions have been raised as to how he can continue to support them if he is no longer a working member of the Royal Family, or even in the country.

Yesterday, the RFU confirmed to the Telegraph that the Duke will continue to be their patron, as well as patron of the RFU Injured Players Foundation and the RFU All Schools Programme.

They could not confirm whether he would be in attendance at any of England’s Six Nations games next month. There is particular interest around the clash against Wales on March 7 because his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.

In previous years the pair have sat next to each other, often in opposing team colours, but with relations strained and the family split, it is unlikely they will both be at Twickenham, according to a source close to the WRU.

The brothers sat together and watched Wales beat England at the 2015 Rugby World Cup Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

The Duke of Sussex’s last public appearance was to make the draw for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup. 

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “We received a message from the Palace on Saturday explaining that the Duke will continue to work with his patronages.

“We are delighted, and we look forward to the continuation of the relationship between the Duke and Rugby League.”

WellChild, the national UK children's charity helping to get seriously ill children and young people out of hospital and home to their families also supported their patron.

“We are privileged to have The Duke of Sussex as WellChild Patron, helping us to raise awareness of the needs of children and young people living with serious health needs across the UK.”

But support for his wife, Meghan has been less readily forthcoming. 

The Duchess first visited the National Theatre last year Credit: Jon Bond

She is patron of The Royal National Theatre, and visited their Dorfman Theatre site the day before the bombshell announcement, causing discontent among some of its members.

“It seems absurd that she should be patron of the National Theatre,” said one.

“She has clearly decided that she doesn’t want to be here. She has found the last couple of years difficult, she wants out and I can’t think of anything more unsuitable than the august Royal National Theatre having anything to do with Meghan or vice versa.

“Prince Charles loves theatre, loves music and would dignify any institution with his patronage. I think he would be the right person for the job.”