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A speech by Prince Harry at the Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace

Published 12 October 2015

It has been one of the most competitive and entertaining world cups ever.

The Duke of Sussex

On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, I would like to welcome you all to Buckingham Palace this evening.

As Honorary President of England 2015, it is a privilege to see this Rugby World Cup being enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

It has been one of the most competitive and entertaining world cups ever.

Although only half way through, we have witnessed some truly memorable moments, and one or two upsets! Each nation has played with a level of commitment that has made this such an exciting and unpredictable tournament, engaging new fans like never before.

It has also grown into the largest tournament to date. We have seen capacity crowds and new Rugby World Cup attendance records. Fan zones have been packed with hundreds of thousands of expectant supporters from every competing nation. And the global broadcast audience has been staggering.

Eight teams and their supporters continue on this nail biting journey. Sadly, 12 countries must share in the disappointment of defeat, but they leave richer for the experience and with valuable lessons learned.

Despite the odd bragging rights, it has been brilliant to see supporters from all countries and from all backgrounds come together to share in the celebration of the game….regardless of the result.

England may no longer be represented on the pitch, but as a nation we are incredibly proud to be hosting such a successful tournament. A showcase for rugby, which - I truly believe – will help grow the game through its excitement and increasing fan base.

As I mentioned at the opening ceremony, rugby is a sport built on teamwork, where success can only be achieved collectively. That ethos is epitomised by everyone here this evening.    

Whether you are a player, volunteer, official or member of support staff… your own way, you are showcasing the very best that rugby has to offer. You are all helping inspire children of all backgrounds and encourage men and women of all ages to get involved with the game; the game we all love.

Over the last 63 years, The Queen has welcomed people to these rooms from all around the world to celebrate their achievements and recognise their dedication and commitment to public causes. This evening, we would like to thank all of you for making England 2015 such a successful and enjoyable tournament for everybody.

Please enjoy the rest of the evening and - of course – the rest of this Rugby World Cup.