It has been more than four months since Prince Harry flew out of the UK to create a new life in the US with wife Meghan Markle and their one-year-old son Archie.
Due to the coronavirus, the family has only recently moved into a permanent California home – having spent lockdown at a friend’s Beverly Hills mansion.
Now, the Duke of Sussex, 35, has revealed that due to the pandemic his return to his home country has been delayed.
But in a Zoom call to mark the Rugby League’s 125th birthday, the royal father gave an indication of when he expects to be setting foot back on British soil.
Speaking to staff and volunteers, the duke revealed in a video, released to celebrate the moment, that he planned to return before October 2021.
He said: “We've got a whole Rugby League World Cup coming next year.
“I definitely plan on coming back. I would have been back already had it not been for COVID."
The Rugby World Cup is due to take place in England next year between 23 October and 27 November.
🎉 The Duke of Sussex, Patron of the Rugby Football League, wishes Rugby League a Happy 125th Birthday, as he takes part in a special set of six with Ellery Hanley MBE, plus a few other special guests.
👉 Watch now: https://t.co/Aj5sWel9vo
🎂 #HappyBirthdayRugbyLeague #RFL125 pic.twitter.com/o7jCZvEpff
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) August 29, 2020
There are currently restrictions on people flying between the US and the UK, with an advisory against non-essential travel between the countries issued by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
As a British national, the duke would be permitted entry if he came home, but he would currently have to spend 14 days in self-isolation.
He left Canada – where he had been living in a rental property – in March with his family, before the country closed its borders as the pandemic spread.
But early in July they moved into a new home, understood to be in Montecito, Santa Barbara.
At the time, a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan said: “The duke and duchess of Sussex moved into their family home in July of this year.
“They have settled into the quiet privacy of their community since their arrival and hope that this will be respected for their neighbours, as well as for them as a family.”
The couple also retain Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle as their British home.
It was refurbished for £2.4m by the UK taxpayer – an amount they are repaying in monthly instalments since stepping back as senior royals.