Meghan and Harry launched Invictus Games Sydney at a magnificent ceremony at the Sydney Opera House
Ahead of the ceremony, Meghan and Harry joined Premier Berejiklian for a dinner reception at Bennelong Restaurant with Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe. “I was a bit worried. Thankfully, it looks like the sky is clearing now,” Premier Berejiklian said about the weather and the event’s delay.
“The grand opening got under way after being delayed by a tropical storm that rocked Sydney.
Impressive lightning flashed overhead at the Opera House in the hour before the ceremony was due to start, as a storm brought eerie dark clouds, strong winds and heavy rain.
Spectators were forced to flee for cover until it passed and Prince Harry admitted he was worried the ceremony would have to be cancelled.
Technical equipment was damaged adding to the delay of the ceremony, according to organisers who were concerned about health and safety.”
The wife of Jamie Tanner, who is competing for Australia in the wheelchair rugby and tennis events, told Meghan how 8,500 of the hand-knitted were made at her workplace Aged Care especially for the games by a group of elderly war widows.
Later she said:
“Meghan was really touched by the story and said the flower was really pretty. I had actually met them both last year in Toronto and gave one of the flowers and he asked, ‘Can I have another one for my gran?’ so it was lovely to share a third one with his wife.
The flowers are made as a show of support to the friends, family and close supporters – it’s something for them to wear and show their pride.
Meghan was interested to hear the backstory. She has this amazing ability to connect and make you feel like you’re the only person in the room. We also spoke about the impact that Invictus Games has had not just on the lives of those competing but the friends and families who stick by during difficult times. When I was telling Meghan she stopped and said, ‘Hold on, I want my husband to hear this too’. They’re both so lovely, so caring.”
In the event of severe weather for the Opening Ceremony plans are in place to relocate people under cover until it is safe for them to resume their seats.
This year’s games will see athletes from 18 countries compete in 11 sports over eight days.
Harry is the founder of the Invictus Games who aim of helping wounded service personnel and veterans with their physical and psychological rehabilitation.
Meghan and Harry then took their seats to enjoy the wonderful opening ceremony
After the welcome ceremony, they were treated with traditional Aboriginal performances, including a presentation of a traditional message stick to Invictus trustee Dave Henson.
Scott Morrison took the stage for a speech and saluted Meghan and Harry by saying: “How good is Prince Harry? And we love you too, Meghan.”
The it was time for Harry to give the speech he rehearsed in front of Meghan earlier!
Harry started off with a reference to Sydney Opera House’s 45th birthday which is today! The Queen was the opening the venue on this day in 1973. Harry said:
‘Hello Sydney. Hello Australia. And hello Invictus. On this day in 1973, my grandmother, the Queen stood in front of this Opera House and declared it open. Forty-five years later, to the day, it is my honour to be standing in front of this iconic symbol of Australia’s place in the modern world at the start of the fourth Invictus Games.’
Harry then went on honoring the “one Invictus generation” – service personnel, veterans, and war dead.
He also thanked the hosts for the welcome and expressed how he and Meghan are “so happy to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all” – adding that he was “proud” to introduce his wife to them.
He said mental toughness is ‘being honest about how we feel.’ Adding: “With the help of medical science, the Invictus generation has not only survived injuries that in past conflicts would have been fatal but has also chosen to fight back from the darkest of places to be here tonight.
“They have shown us the true meaning of resilience.
When they have been open about their hidden emotional and mental wounds, the Invictus generation has shown us that in today’s world being tough means being honest about how we feel – both inside and out.”
You are going to put on one hell of a show over the next week.”
You can watch the whole speech here:
Meghan looked radiant that night, wearing her Stella McCartney Blue Cape Dress first seen at the Queen’s Birthday Party at Royal Albert Hall in April.
On her shoulders she wore Wool Swing Coat by Winser London
Styling it with her Stuart Weitzman Legend pumps in haze beige.
Her earrings are the Birks Cushion Cut Sapphire and Double Diamond Halo Drop earrings.
And her bracelet is the Birks Flex Wrap bracelet in white gold.
This tour is just lovely!
Harry and Meghan will begin the day with watching some elements of the Invictus Games cycling and sailing.
At lunchtime, they will attend a reception hosted by the Prime Minister, with Invictus Games competitors and representatives from the communities in Sydney.