After two years of delays, The Sussexes are finally kicking off the Invictus Games 2022 in The Hague!
Invictus Games Twitter profile shared the following picture ahead of the ceremony
The Invictus Games 2022 hosted in the Netherlands this week were originally scheduled for 2020. It was then delayed until 2021 and then again to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meghan and Harry were welcomed by ecstatic attendees cheering as the couple walked to their front-row seats.
It´s been a busy day for the couple – they started off the day visiting the British Embassy to meet some of the UK Invictus Team! From there, they attended the first Invictus Games 2022 competition – The Land Rover Driving Challenge!
While it was never in doubt Prince Harry would attend the games, Meghan’s attendance was only confirmed earlier this week. The couple flew first-class commercial from LA overnight on Tuesday for a quick stop at Windsor on their way to The Hague. The couple’s office revealed they visited The Queen. “We can confirm that they visited the duke’s grandmother, as we previously said he hoped to do,” said the spokesperson. “They stopped by the UK on their way to The Hague to attend the Invictus Games.”. It is believed that prince Charles was there to meet the couple as well.
The Sussexes are believed to have stayed overnight at their home on the grounds of Windsor Castle’s Frogmore Cottage, where Harry’s cousin Princess Eugenie now lives with her husband, Jack Brooksbank, and their baby son, August.
The Invictus Games clearly mean a great deal to Meghan and Harry and the lead-up to the 2022 Games will also be the subject of their first Netflix project, a docuseries called Heart of Invictus. (There’s no premiere date yet for the show.)
Ahead of Meghan and Harry’s entrance, teams from 17 countries were cheered into the arena! A flag parade then appeared
Meghan and Harry were then welcomed by Eric Corton – Dutch actor, host, radio DJ, and writer.
The Invictus Games Idea began on a trip to the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013, where Harry saw how the power of sport could help wounded servicemen and women in their recovery – physically, psychologically, and socially.
His mind was made up. London would host the inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel. He directed his charity, The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to deliver the games in partnership with the Ministry of Defence.
The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured, and sick service personnel and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post-injury.
Launching the Games, Prince Harry said: “I have witnessed first-hand how the power of sport can positively impact the lives of wounded, injured, and sick Servicemen and women in their journey of recovery.”. Tonight is the fifth opening ceremony – with many more to come.
Meghan and Harry were seated next to Invictus Games CEO Dominic Reid and former Dutch Team Captain Edwin de Wolf
Meghan then took the stage to address the attendees. In her speech, she saluted Team Ukraine which is competing in the international competition despite Russia’s invasion.
“Good evening everyone. We are so grateful to the Netherlands for welcoming us and for hosting the Invictus Games.
For each team, my husband and I both recognize it’s been a lot to get here, both physically and emotionally – not least of which for the Ukraine team, who we are all standing with.”
Meghan then told the guest that Harry spent days working on ensuring the games, which had to be postponed because of the pandemic, could be “perfect” for all of them. Meghan said: “He’s spent many late nights and early mornings planning for these games to make them as perfect as possible for each of you.
“I could not love and respect him more, and I know all of you feel the same because he’s your fellow veteran having served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and 10 years of military service.
He’s the founder of the Invictus Games and the father to our two little ones, Archie and Lili.
Please welcome my incredible husband Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex.”
Watch the speech below
Before delivering his own speech to the guests, Harry took the time to share a tender moment with Meghan, sharing a happy smile and a kiss after which she walked off stage.
Harry’s speech was slightly delayed after attendees treated him to a standing ovation. Harry was evidently emotional as he looked around the crowd!
Just as Meghan, Harry welcomed all athletes and paid special tribute to participants from Ukraine, who had been greeted with overwhelming applause ahead of the ceremony.
“Your bravery in choosing to come and for being here tonight cannot be overstated. You told me when you decided to join us despite all odds you came to be on this global stage not simply to show your strength but to tell your truth. The truth of what is happening in your country. You know we stand with you, the world is united with you, and still you deserve more. My hope is this event creates the opportunity and show how we as a global community can better show up for you.”
Harry also expressed his desire that Archie will see the veterans participating in the games as an inspiration in the future.
“I trust that you all see what I see – the heart of the warrior beating strongly. “Because to be role models or the role model each of you is, takes strength and it takes courage. When I talk to my son Archie about what he wants to be when he grows up, some days it’s an astronaut, other days it’s a pilot – a helicopter pilot, obviously. Or Kwazii from Octonauts. But what I remind him is, no matter what you want to be when you grow up, it’s your character that matters most. And nothing would make me and his mum prouder than to see him have the character of what we see before us today. You.”
Watch it below
Tonight’s Invictus Games 2022 event saw live performances by the Kaiser Chiefs, the Johan Willem Friso royal military band, singer-songwriter Anneke van Giersbergen and rock band DI-RECT.
It took place at the Zuiderpark arena which opened in 2017 and is used for several indoor sports. The main hall has a capacity of 3,500 people
Meghan looked radiant tonight wearing a Khaite Cerise Bodysuit
She styled it with the Manolo Blahnik Camparimesh Pumps in Black
Meghan accessorized with the Cartier Juste un Clou Necklace
What a day it’s been. No more engagements have been announced yet – but I´m sure we will see both Meghan and Harry again tomorrow.
I’m leaving you with his incredible photo!