They've been a trusty trio for several years now but one image from the latest appearance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry perhaps highlights how things will change...and how soon. For on their visit to celebrate the Coach Core programme on October 18th, this royal three found themselves with a spare seat right next to a certain handsome prince. Harry seemed to be warming the chair for another member of this new generation of royals. Is this the last time we see the trio before three become four?
Founded by The Royal Foundation in 2012, Coach Core is an apprenticeship scheme which trains 16-24 year olds to be sports coaches and mentors in their communities. 98% of graduates on the scheme will go into full-time employment or education and continue to engage in community sport. Five years on, there are now 10 areas across the country to take part in Coach Core. The newest locations in Middlesbrough, Bristol and Devon were announced today. Prince Harry made a speech at the graduation saying, 'Coach Core currently operates in 7 cities across the country. But such is the demand for these highly skilled coaches that I am delighted to announce that The Royal Foundation will be expanding our investment in the programme. Today we are launching three new Coach Core programmes in: Middlesbrough, Devon, and Bristol.' 📷PA
William, Kate and Harry visited the London Stadium to mark the graduation of 150 new members of the Coach Core scheme. The initiative was set up by the trio's Royal Foundation five years ago and it helps young people aged between 16 and 24 to become sports coaches. To mark its birthday, as well as celebrate the achievements of those who were graduating, the royals spent time chatting to those involved in the scheme as well as those supporting it.
It's the second time we've seen this royal trio in less than 48 hours, after their engagement at Paddington Station where they were visiting children going through difficult times and being treated to a day to remember. But while plenty of attention has been focused on the baby bump of a certain duchess (who was back in blue after a pinch of pink earlier in the week), it was Prince Harry who was really getting people talking this time round.
Not only did the prince deliver the keynote speech in which he told those involved in the programme how proud he, his brother and sister in law were of them and talked about the power of sport, he also got to announce the expansion of the Coach Core programme - another sign of the huge success his royal initiatives enjoy.
But it was the sight of a spare seat next to Harry at one point in the engagement that really seemed to highlight why all eyes were on him. There is something about Harry right now that more than underlines the fact we're heading for a royal wedding. The prince seems happier and more confident in himself than we've ever seen him and having introduced girlfriend, Meghan Markle, to the informal royal engagement with several appearances together at the Invictus Games, it now feels more than inevitable that sooner, rather than later, we will see the two together as a royal couple in the making.
The royal trio of William, Kate and Harry have been a fixture for six years now but the times are a changing. With an added member, this group has more power to achieve their ambitions and more opportunity to expand the appeal of the Royal Family to a new generation. There is something about this engagement that says it might well be the end of one era and the dawn of a new world, to the power of four.