Saturday night saw the Invictus Games competition open for wounded, injured, and ill service personnel as well as veterans. Prince Harry paid tribute to the Ukrainian team members who fled their war-torn country to participate in the Invictus games competition.
Harry and Meghan were in the front row of the opening ceremony. Participants cheered for almost a minute as the Ukrainian national team waved the blue-and yellow flag after Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, welcomed them to the event. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the event for two years.
Harry created the Invictus Games in order to help wounded or sick veterans and military personnel by offering them the opportunity to compete in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.
Harry welcomed all competitors and singled out the Ukrainian Team and their supporter.
He said that he could not overstate his bravery in coming and being there tonight, just a day after meeting with the Ukrainians at a reception.
“We stand with you, you know. You are not alone. You deserve more. Harry said that he hoped these events, this event creates the chance… for how we, as a global community, can better show up to you.”
Meghan, who was standing in front of Harry, introduced Harry by saying that she couldn’t love or respect him more. Because he has served two tours in Afghanistan and ten years of military service, I’m sure you all feel the same.
She called Harry “the father of our two little girls, Archie and Lili” and “the founder and father of the Invictus Games.”
The Dutch prime minister spoke earlier in the ceremony about the portraits of Invictus competitors that were placed around The Hague (the city hosting the competition this year) to emphasize the “resilience and fortitude in face of adversity.
These are your stories, these are your lifelines. And the events happening now in Ukraine make them even more powerful. As he spoke, applause and cheers broke out.
The 500 participants from 20 countries are taking part in the games, which will run through April 22.
Competition at the games started earlier Saturday with a driving challenge on an automobile obstacle course. Harry was able to get close to the action as he was driven around this course. Later, he and Meghan waved at spectators as they drove around the course in miniature Land Rover cars with children.
Starting Sunday, competitors can participate in archery, athletics, cycling, indoor rowing and powerlifting.
Friday’s welcome event was attended by competitors, their families, and friends by the duke and duchess, Harry and Meghan. This was the couple’s first public appearance outside Europe since their departure from their royal roles. They moved to the U.S. two years ago due to the unmanageable pressure of their roles as well as the racist attitudes of British media.
The couple visited Harry’s grandmother Queen Elizabeth II (95 years old) at Windsor Castle on Thursday. Lately, the queen has struggled with mobility issues.