Matthew Stafford's Meeting With Prince Harry Was Beyond Awkward

Among the many celebrities who attended the 2022 Super Bowl in Los Angeles were Prince Harry and his cousin, Princess Eugenie. 

Harry has lived in nearby Montecito, California, since he and his wife, Meghan Markle, left their royal duties behind in 2020. According to People, Eugenie, who has been a close friend of the couple's and was the first member of the royal family to visit them in California, flew from the United Kingdom to see the Super Bowl with her cousin.

While the pair kept a fairly low profile, witnesses claimed that the royals were dancing quite a bit when the halftime show began. According to Harper's Bazaar, the pair sat in a suite sponsored by Salesforce, a company that has partnered with BetterUp, the mental health platform for which Harry is a chief impact officer.

Though representatives for Harry and Eugenie would not comment on which team they were rooting for — the Los Angeles Rams or the Cincinnati Bengals — it seems likely that they would have been rooting for the Rams, given the fact that Markle has been a longtime resident of the city, per Harper's Bazaar.

After the Rams secured the win, Harry toured the team's locker room and even spoke with a few team members. However, according to Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, his particular encounter with Harry was a bit awkward.

Matthew Stafford couldn't hear anything Prince Harry said to him

Shortly after the Los Angeles Rams won the 2022 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals, Prince Harry, donning a Rams hat, made his way into the team's locker room to meet a few of the players. 

At one point, as documented on the Rams' Twitter account, Harry even held the team's Vince Lombardi Trophy and spoke with the team's owner, Stan Kroenke.

While Prince Harry did stop to talk with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford after the game, the champ could barely hear a word the royal was saying due to the flurry of activity in the locker room, Stafford told his wife, Kelly Stafford, on her podcast, "The Morning After With Kelly Stafford."

"He was talking to me for a quick second, but it was loud — tough to say what he said," he said, per People. "It was loud in there, it was crazy." Stafford also claimed that Harry spent time speaking with his teammate, Cooper Kupp.

Other celebrities had a chance to speak with Harry during his Super Bowl outing, including country star Mickey Guyton, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the game. "I met Prince Harry. He was just lovely. I even curtsied in my track suit," she captioned a photo of the pair in an Instagram post

Cedric the Entertainer also posted a picture from a chance encounter with Harry at the game on his Instagram page.

Some believe Harry was sending a message at the Super Bowl

Royal watchers think that Prince Harry's decision to attend the Super Bowl was a clear message that he is embracing American culture. 

"Harry's choice to be at the Super Bowl was a cold, calculated political move to align with the most nostalgic of American sports and the people who follow it," said American public relations expert and commentator Eric Schiffer (via The News International). 

"It was wise. He looked somewhat miserable at times but that is perhaps not going to be his favorite sport. But I think it was a respectful nod to Americans and I think it was also, in some ways, a middle finger to those who don't see him as a true American. And showing that he is bonding with his fellow neighbors across the pond."

But some are not convinced that the move to California will be good for the prince in the long run. "He thinks this system in America has got his best interests and everyone at home is has got it in for him. The thing is he has gone so far now," explained public relations consultant Richard Hillgrove (via Daily Times). 

"He's got a sense of importance and power, but when the puppet masters in America that are managing the Harry and Meghan show realize they can't get much more out of them they will be off, and he'll be on the sidelines. I feel really sorry for Harry."

Did Meghan Markle skip the Super Bowl for this reason?

While Prince Harry and Princess Eugenie enjoyed the Super Bowl, many were surprised that Harry's wife, Meghan Markle, didn't join them for the big game — especially since she and Eugenie are close. 

In fact, Markle revealed during the infamous Oprah Winfrey interview that she knew the princess before she met her husband. "Eugenie and I had known each other before I had known Harry, so that was comfortable," she said (via People). "We're friends with them as a couple."

But sources say that the scandal Eugenie's father, Prince Andrew, is embroiled in could be the reason Markle decided not to attend the Super Bowl with them. 

"With the benefit of hindsight, it's interesting that #Meghan chose not to attend the Superbowl with Eugenie just days before Prince Andrew's settlement was announced," the Daily Mail's Richard Eden tweeted. "From what I understand, #Meghan has political ambitions."

There has been speculation that Markle might run for office if California Senator Dianne Feinstein chooses not to run again in 2024. 

"One of the reasons she was so keen not to give up her American citizenship was so she had the option to go into politics," a friend told Vanity Fair. "I think if Meghan and Harry ever gave up their titles she would seriously consider running for president."