Prince Harry made his acting debut in a video sketch played at the opening ceremony of Rugby World Cup on Friday, September 18. Harry played the role of a 1800s gardener alongside former rugby union player Jonny Wilkinson.
Sporting a white shirt, grey trousers and suspenders, Harry is seen scooping up dirt near the school gate along with Jonny. When a student running with the ball passes them, Jonny asks Harry, “What is he doing?” The royal prince then replies, “Don’t worry Jonny that will never take off.”
The short film is a dramatic retelling of the origin story of rugby at the famed Rugby School, an England boarding school which gives the sport its name. According to rugby legend, the sport began in 1823 when a young student named William Webb Ellis decided to run with the ball when playing a version of football with his schoolmates.
At the opening ceremony, Harry said, “Welcome to Twickenham, to England 2015 and to the 8th Rugby World Cup. This evening marks the beginning of a celebration of rugby which I hope will inspire current players, those new to the game and future generations. There will be moments in this World Cup which will live with us for the rest of our lives. Who could forget 1995 and President Mandela handing The Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar, or that Drop kick in 2003.”
“To all the players, we congratulate you and wish you well for the Tournament. Your individual skill is to be celebrated, but I can think of no other sport where the success of the team is shouldered so equally by everyone,” he continued, “Rugby has changed dramatically in my lifetime. But it remains a game founded on a code of values. Values which are as important today, both on and off the field of play, as they have ever been. Across the country, regardless of age, background or beliefs; this nation, which gave rugby to the world in 1823, will join together and celebrate the game like never before.”
“In six weeks’ time, one team will take its place in history. It’s up to every one of us, to raise the roof on each match in this unforgettable journey. The players have earned it, the Nations deserve it and the fans expect it. We’re ready… Game on!” he concluded.