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Queen and Prince Harry party with Rugby World Cup stars at Buckingham Palace

Published 12/10/2015

Britain's Prince Harry (L) speaks with Ireland's number 8 Jamie Heaslip (2nd R) and Ireland team manager Michael Kearney (R) at a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Prince Harry (L) speaks with Ireland's number 8 Jamie Heaslip (2nd R) and Ireland team manager Michael Kearney (R) at a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh view the Webb Ellis Trophy at a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace, London. PA
The Webb Ellis trophy on display during a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Prince Harry meets Welsh Rugby Union player Gethin Jenkins (centre) and Alun-Wyn Jones (right) during a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II speaks with (left to right) Scotland Rugby Union head coach Vern Cotter, Fran Leighton of England Rugby 2015 and Scotland Captain Greig Laidlaw at a Rugby World Cup reception at Buckingham Palace, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Prince Harry (left) meets South Africa's Victor Matfield (second right) and Bryan Habana (right) at a reception at Buckingham Palace to welcome Rugby World Cup stars. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Prince Harry with the Webb Ellis Trophy at a reception at Buckingham Palace to welcome Rugby World Cup stars. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
England Rugby Union Captain Chris Robshaw (left) speaks with Prince Harry at a reception at Buckingham Palace to welcome Rugby World Cup stars. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II looks at the Webb Ellis Cup on a plinth at a reception at Buckingham Palace to welcome Rugby World Cup stars. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with England Rugby Union captain Chris Robshaw (left) at a reception at Buckingham Palace to welcome Rugby World Cup stars. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 12, 2015. See PA story ROYAL Rugby. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with England's head coach Stuart Lancaster (L) as England's flanker and captain Chris Robshaw (2nd L) looks on, at a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ANTHONY DEVLINAnthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with England's flanker Chris Robshaw (L) at a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ANTHONY DEVLINAnthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images
Samoa's wing Alesana Tuilagi (L) and Samoa's fly half Michael Stanley (2nd L) arrive for a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
Samoa's wing Alesana Tuilagi arrives for a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
South Africa's head coach Heyneke Meyer (L) arrives for a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
England's captain Chris Robshaw arrives for a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
England's head coach Stuart Lancaster arrives for a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015, at Buckingham Palace in central London on October 12, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 12: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Harry looks at the Webb Ellis Cup on a plinth during a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Buckingham Palace on October 12, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Devlin -WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 12: Prince Harry speaks with England Rugby Union head coach Stuart Lancaster (left) and England captain Chris Robshaw (second left) during a reception to mark the Rugby World Cup 2015 at Buckingham Palace on October 12, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Anthony Devlin -WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen and Prince Harry have welcomed representatives from each of the 20 competing teams at the Rugby World Cup to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

In a speech welcoming around 400 players, coaches, referees and volunteers to the Palace, Harry said it was a privilege to see the tournament being enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

In his role as honorary president of England 2015 he said: "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!" he added, most likely referring to England's defeat against Wales which he attended with his brother.

Standing on a red carpet fringed with gold, upon which the Webb Ellis Trophy had pride of place, Harry said he was hopeful for the future of rugby.

"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."

The Queen was presented with a specially commissioned participation medal by Bernard Lapasset, chairman of world rugby, and William "Bill" Beaumont, former England captain.

Wearing a purple flower-patterned dress and a pearl necklace, she remarked that the medal looked very smart before greeting team members and volunteers from all over the world.

Kathryn Catto, a World Cup volunteer from Gloucester, chatted with the Queen as she mingled around the chandelier-decked ballroom.

She said that the monarch was concerned about whether the 17 players - who had stood on the stage behind Harry as he gave his speech - would now be allowed to come down and enjoy the party.

Ms Catto said: "She said 'I hope they will be able to come down soon' - she thought they might be a bit bored and asked a man to see if they could come down off the stage so they wouldn't miss out."

"She said it was lovely that people from all around the country were being represented here tonight."

Ms Catto, who was joined by fellow volunteers and friends Rhian Edwards and Patricia Bailey, joked that they had shared a giggle with the Queen after she revealed she was a great fan of the kilts sported on stage by Scotland's Finn Russell and Jonny Gray.

In response to her admiration Mr Russell said: "It is our traditional wear so it is great to hear that and it's good for Scotland."

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