Prince Harry will remain patron of Rugby Football League ©Getty Images

Prince Harry will remain patron of the Rugby Football League (RFL), despite stepping down as a full-time working member of the royal family.

The Duke of Sussex announced that he and his wife, Meghan Markle, would step down from front-line royal duties to spend time in Canada. 

He informed RFL that he will remain as patron, however, having also conducted the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw last week at Buckingham Palace. 

"We received a message from the Palace on Saturday explaining that the Duke will continue to work with his patronages - as confirmed in the statements from HM The Queen and Buckingham Palace," RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said.

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

"He has shown a genuine commitment to working with us, initially getting involved in our community and youth programmes and sharing his support for England Rugby League, before recent higher profile roles presenting the Challenge Cup at Wembley last August, and of course hosting the draw for Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) at Buckingham Palace last week and demonstrating his personal commitment to our sport's Mental Fitness Charter.

"Speaking on behalf of RLWC2021, they were equally thrilled by his involvement - and are equally delighted that the Duke will remain the sport's Patron as we build towards hosting Men's, Women's and Wheelchair Rugby League World Cups in England next year."

Prince Harry conducted the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace ©Getty Images
Prince Harry conducted the 2021 Rugby League World Cup draw at Buckingham Palace ©Getty Images

The Duke succeeded his grandmother as RFL patron in December 2016, and has been involved in community and youth programmes since.

He also presented the Challenge Cup trophy to Warrington Wolves at Wembley in 2019. 

Talks involving The Queen, Prince Harry, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge to discuss the couple's future were held last week at Sandringham Estate. 

The Queen released a statement agreeing to their wish to step back as senior members of the royal family, become financially independent and split their time between the United Kingdom and Canada.

Prince Harry promised he and Meghan would honour their duties to The Queen, the Commonwealth and their patronages.