The 37-year-old Suits alum, who is expecting her first child with Harry, talked first, pointing out the special significance of the event. “It is such an honor to be here tonight celebrating all of you and supporting my husband in the Invictus Games, which he founded four years ago,” she said. “In that short span of time, the Games have evolved into an international platform of some of the best athletics and sportsmanship you could ever witness, coupled with the camaraderie and close-knit sense of community, which can only be defined as the Invictus spirit.”
“In a short span of time, the #InvictusGames have evolved into an international platform of some of the best athletics and sportsmanship you could ever witness, coupled with a camaraderie which can only be defined as the Invictus spirit.” — The Duchess of Sussex #IG2018 pic.twitter.com/1AxPuC1DKy
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 27, 2018
She continued: “With that said, and on a very personal note, I just wanted to thank all of you for welcoming me into the Invictus family. I am truly so grateful to be a part of this with each and every one of you. And I’m not sure if many of you know this, but a few years ago, before I had met my husband, I had the incredible honor of visiting troops deployed all over the world; from the UK to Italy and Afghanistan, and several other countries. In traveling to these military bases, I was given a very special glimpse into the lives of those who serve our countries.”
The Duchess of Sussex went on to applaud those who support veterans and military members. “I was able to see the unshakable bonds between service men and women on the ground together, but at the same time to feel the palpable longing for family and friends while deployed,” she told the crowd. “Once home, the need for that anchor of support from loved ones, especially given how much it accelerates recovery and rehabilitation, is immeasurable.”
She added: “I’ve been reminded of those memories here. During this year’s Games in Sydney I’ve witnessed the most amazing support networks that surround competitors, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting several of these family and friends.”
In his own speech, Harry, 34, focused on praising the Games’ competitors. “These men and women are role models. They are who every child should look up to,” he noted. “In a world where negativity is given too much of a platform, our Invictus competitors — many of whom have been given a second chance at life — are achieving extraordinary things.”
He also lauded the participants for shining a light on mental health. “For that friend or comrade you know who is unable to open up about their struggles. For that man or woman who has watched on television, you are proving that it’s OK to talk about how we feel,” the prince told the audience. “To girls and boys who see you speaking openly about anxiety, stress and depression, you are showing it’s OK not to be OK. And most importantly, you are showing us all that it’s OK to ask for help.”
The Duke of Sussex added: “I’ve been there, you’ve been there, and we now need to reach out to those who can never even imagine themselves in that place.”
Harry launched the Invictus Games, in which wounded and ill servicemen and women participate in sporting events, in 2014.
The royal couple are currently on a 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. Earlier on Saturday, the pair attended a wheelchair basketball game, where Meghan awarded her native country gold medals after Team USA’s win.
Harry sweetly gave a nod to his little one on the way during his speech at the Invictus Games opening ceremony on October 20: “I have been so proud to be able to introduce my wife to you and we have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all.”
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