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The Queen and Prince Harry welcome rugby stars to Buckingham Palace

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England may have bowed out of the Rugby World Cup this year, but fair sportsman Prince Harry showed no signs of hard feelings as he welcomed stars from other competing nations to a reception at Buckingham Palace.

Harry was joining his grandmother the Queen in opening the doors of her London residence to welcome the athletes and other guests. Her Majesty's husband Prince Philip and daughter Princess Anne also attended the Monday evening affair.

Queen Elizabeth2

The Queen was joined by her husband Prince Philip and Prince Harry

Approximately 400 guests were invited to the event to celebrate those involved in the sporting tournament, including staff, volunteers, senior officials from England Rugby 2015, Rugby Football Union, World Rugby and Rugby World Cup Ltd.

Still sporting his thick beard, Harry, 31, was dapper in a dark suit while his grandmother looked lovely in a plum-hued dress. As honorary president of England 2015, the organising committee staging the contest, Harry was tasked with giving a short speech at the reception.

Queen Elizabeth1 © Photo: Getty Images

Approximately 400 guests were invited to the event which took place at Buckingham Palace

"It has been one of the most competitive and entertaining World Cups ever," said Harry. "This evening, we would like to thank all of you for making England 2015 such a successful and enjoyable tournament for everybody."

"You are helping inspire children of all backgrounds to get involved with the game we all love," he added.

Members of the royal family hold close ties with rugby organisations. The Queen is patron of the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union, while her grandsons Harry and William are, respectively, vice patrons of the opposing unions.

Queen Elizabeth © Photo: Getty Images

The Queen is patron of the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union

The rugby-mad brothers have attended various matches throughout the World Cup, most notably the nail-biting England versus Wales match at the end of September where they supported different teams.

Wearing a red zip-up Wales jacket for the match at Twickenham, William and his wife Kate, both 33, cheered on the Dragons, who clinched a tight 28-25 victory over the host nation. A disappointed Harry, meanwhile, in his England colours, couldn't hide his frustration.

At a welcoming party for the 20 competing nations at the start of the tournament, Harry gave a speech saying: "As a passionate rugby fan, I will share in the rollercoaster of emotions with millions of other fans around the world between now and October 31.

"I believe that this World Cup – more than any before – has the potential to grow the game, both at home and abroad, by inspiring children of all backgrounds, and encouraging men and women of all ages and abilities, to embrace rugby."