Surprise! Prince Harry made an unexpected appearance at the 2024 NFL Honors in Las Vegas after taking a quick trip to the United Kingdom to see his father, King Charles III, who has been diagnosed with cancer. The Duke of Sussex, 39, came out on stage to present the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award to Cameron Heyward, the defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harry cracked a few jokes about the differences between rugby and football during his speech.
“Good evening, NFL. It’s an honor to be here with you all tonight,” he said at the Thursday, February 8 event. “I really love how you stole rugby from us and you made it your own. Instead of passing it backwards, just pass it forwards. Why not wear pads and a helmet? Of course, have an offense and defense, that makes sense. And why not take a breather every 15 seconds? And you know what, instead of a 10-month season, let’s just make it 18 weeks. Genius!”
Listen to the cheers for Prince Harry as he presents the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year to Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron ‘The Man’ Heyward. pic.twitter.com/Kwbrbj0gq8
— Dani (@ArchLiliHazMeg) February 9, 2024
After the audience laughed at his jokes, the dad-of-two took a more serious approach as he praised all the NFL players for being “role models” in how they “carry yourselves and the way you give back.”
“This final award — the highest honor — is all about serving your community,” Harry continued. “And there’s one special man we’d like to pay tribute to now. A player who goes above and beyond and whose extraordinary commitment to helping others is a reflection of his own story.” Cameron, 34, came on stage and was in disbelief he was accepting the award from Harry. “Man, Prince freaking Harry. Man, I’m in shock. That’s Prince Harry,” the NFL star said.
Harry recently returned from his home country where he visited his father after learning of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis. He flew there solo without his wife Meghan Markle, 42, and their children, Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2. Sources told Page Six that Harry was receiving updates on King Charles’ health, including the details on his recent procedure to treat an enlarged prostate. Harry reportedly flew out of London’s Heathrow Airport to go back to California on Wednesday, February 7 after spending only one day in the U.K. He saw his dad for one hour and slept in a hotel rather than in a royal residence, according to ABC News.
Harry did not see his brother Prince William, 41, during the trip. An Entertainment Tonight insider revealed that Harry had offered to meet up with William during his visit back home, if they had time. They said his return to see King Charles during his cancer battle was also an “olive branch” to William. Despite being open to seeing his brother, the source told ET that there was “nothing scheduled in the diary” for the brothers to reunite. William, who is first in line to the throne, has had to step up in his royal duties as his father battles cancer and his wife Kate Middleton, 42, recovers after getting abdominal surgery in January.