Prince Harry walked in his grandmother’s footsteps last night when he dropped the puck while attending an NHL hockey game with Meghan Markle.
The Duke, 39, and Duchess, 42, of Sussex made a surprise visit to the match, where they watched the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 from a VIP box at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
When the Canucks won the match, Harry leapt up and Meghan put down her wine glass so they could both dance to celebrate the victory as Simple Minds’ hit Don’t You Forget About Me.
And in a poignant moment, reminiscent of Elizabeth II in 2002, when she went to a match during an 11-day tour of Canada in honour of her Golden Jubilee, Harry kickstarted the action by dropping the puck.
A photo of the moment mirrored the action undertaken by the Queen when she threw the puck to start a match between the same teams – although Harry’s attempt at throwing the puck was reportedly more awkward than his grandmother’s.
The late Queen Elizabeth II drops the puck in 2002 when the same teams played on her Golden Jubilee tour, while she undertook an 11-day tour of Canada
Prince Harry (pictured, centre) as he drops the puck. He was reportedly told he had to throw it, according to player Tomáš Hertl, who said the royal just kept holding the puck and smiling
Queen Elizabeth II, made the ceremonial puck drop at a 2002 match, also between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks, during her two-week Golden Jubilee tour of Canada.
It was the first NHL game the Queen had attended since 1951 when, still a princess, she and Prince Philip watched the Montreal Canadiens take on the New York Rangers.
One difference between the puck photos is that her grandson looks far less formal during his appearance, dressed in an all-dark outfit. He matched dark slacks with a matching jumper over a white shirt, and a blazer and trainers.
Meanwhile, the 2002 photo shows the late monarch dressed in one of her iconic single-shade outfits, donning a maroon dress, paired with her favoured black heels and patent handbag.
Another difference, according to local reports, is that the prince needed some help when it came to what was expected of the puck drop.
According to San Jose’s NHL star Tomáš Hertl, who spoke after the game about the experience of meeting Harry: ‘I actually had to tell him [to drop the puck] because he keeps holding and smiling.
‘I said, “it’s time to drop it”. But it’s a cool moment. For sure I will remember that one.’
Meanwhile, the Canucks coach Rick Tocchet suggested his fist bump with the royal was slightly awkward.
Greetings! Prince Harry is seen shaking hands with Quinn Hughes of the Canucks during the outing in Vancouver
The royal was all smiles as he dropped the puck ahead of the game, just as his grandmother did in 2002
Harry was seen cracking jokes with the players after he walked onto the ice, ahead of the match at the Rogers Arena
He said: ‘I gave him a fist bump, I don’t know if you’re allowed to do that. I did it, he did it. He kind of looked at me but he did it.’
The Sussexes watched the match from the VIP box, where they were joined by local Indigenous leaders, British Columbia Premier David Eby and the region’s Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports Minister, Lana Popham.
And Harry and Meghan were not alone for their night out: they were accompanied by Markus Anderson.
Markus is a friend of Meghan’s from Toronto, who she knows from when she lived there filming Suits.
As the Chief Membership Officer of the Soho House lifestyle chain, Markus helped organise Meghan’s first date with Harry in London and has been described as the second most important man in her life after her British husband.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are photographed in their seats during the first period of the ice hockey match
Meghan Markle (pictured) smiles as she takes to her seat after an exciting moment in the hockey match
Meghan Markle celebrates at the NHL game in Canada – a country very important to her and Harry as it where they began courting. Her friend Markus Anderson is with her. He was the man who organised the Sussexes’ first date
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) are seen getting cosy in their box at the Rogers Arena last night
It was Markus who arranged a private room at Soho House in London for the Montecito-based couple’s first date, while Meghan threw a low-key hen night ahead of her 2018 wedding at Soho Farmhouse in Chipping Norton, UK.
Originally, he invited her to join Soho House when she was still a TV soap actress in Toronto, and it was Markus who facilitated all of Harry and Meghan’s early dates in London and Oxfordshire.
Harry and Meghan’s sporting outing comes a few days after Meghan’s surprise arrival at the Variety Power Of Women event in Los Angeles to celebrate the accomplishments of women in entertainment.
The former Suits actress said she was ‘thrilled’ to have returned to the entertainment industry with Archewell Productions and is ‘really proud’ of the projects they have has created so far, including docu-series Harry & Meghan and Heart Of Invictus.
The Duke and Duchess appeared on the jumbotron at Rogers Arena last night when the game was 0-0
The Duke of Sussex was seen explaining what had happened in the game at one point when his wife appeared confused
She also teased future projects, saying: ‘We have so many exciting things on the slate… I can’t wait until we can announce them, but I’m just really proud of what we’re creating. My husband is loving it too which is really fun.’
Experts told MailOnline that they believe the flurry of A-list appearances is a PR ‘tactic’ to pitch for lucrative work and create a new buzz around Meghan, and her husband.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in Canada for work to promote the next Invictus Games, which will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025.
The Invictus Games will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025 and will feature winter sports for the first time.
For the first-time adaptive winter sports including alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and curling will be included in the programme of weeklong events and staged in the resort of Whistler.