Prince Harry makes surprise acting debut during Rugby World Cup opening ceremony

The royal appeared as a gardener alongside Jonny Wilkinson before last night's match between England and Fiji

Prince Harry made a surprise cameo during last night’s Rugby World Cup opening ceremony, appearing in a pre-recorded segment charting the history of rugby.

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It was the royal’s acting debut – so, who did he play? A member of the royal family, perhaps? A public schoolboy (he did attend Eton, after all).

Nope, none of the above. Instead, Harry played a gardener. Standing alongside Jonny Wilkinson, the Prince witnessed schoolboy William Webb Ellis – the alleged inventor of the sport – dash past him with a ball in hand. He even had a line – “Don’t worry Jonny, that will never take off,” he muttered to his fellow gardener and 2003 Rugby World Cup winner. (Skip to 2mins 15secs to see his performance.)

Perhaps the Prince took tips from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, who famously made a surprise cameo in the London 2012 opening ceremony opposite Daniel Craig’s James Bond. 

Harry was also in attendance with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for yesterday’s world cup opener, giving a speech to the crowds gathered at Twickenham Stadium before England beat Fiji 35-11. 

“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,” he said.

“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.

“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.

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“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.”

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