Prince Harry has said only coronavirus stopped him from returning to the UK and revealed when he hopes to come back.
The Duke of Sussex set his on sights on returning home in time for the Rugby League World Cup, due to be held at venues across England in the winter of 2021.
He said he has “full respect” for players as the amount of endurance it takes is “madness”.
Prince Harry, the patron of the Rugby Football League, made the comments on a video call with players, coaches, and volunteers as the organisation celebrates 125 years since it was founded.
He said: “We’ve got a whole Rugby League World Cup coming next year, so I definitely plan on coming back. I would have been back already had it not been for COVID.”
Prince Harry added also praised the benefits of “keeping your mind fit as well” as the lockdown caused by the pandemic has “been hard for everyone”.
Smiling, he added: “Watching rugby league is exhausting, I don’t know how you do it.
“I spent 10 years in the Army, I know what endurance is all about but it’s madness.
“Full respect to anyone who plays the game, I think it’s amazing.
“I think a lot of people would be jealous not to be part of that community.”
Prince Harry reportedly spoke from his home in Santa Barbara, California, where he is living with his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
The couple reportedly bought an £11m home in the celebrity hotspot.
The pair stepped back as senior royals earlier this year, following intense scrutiny in the media.