When Harry met … Justin! Prince Harry joined Canada’s super hot prime minister, Justin Trudeau, for a private meeting in Toronto at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel on Monday, May 2.
The prince and the politician convened to promote the third Invictus Games, which will be hosted in the Canadian city in September 2017, just a few days before the 2016 Invictus Games kick off in Orlando, Florida. Prince Harry founded the competition in 2014, with the inaugural event taking place in London, to give wounded military personnel a chance to compete in sporting events and inspire their recovery.
The good-looking men addressed a room full of Canadian servicemen and servicewomen on Monday. “This is an opportunity for us to recognize the extraordinary service, the extraordinary strength and resilience of those who choose to serve their country,” Trudeau said. “For me it’s an extraordinary, worthy initiative that we’re very, very glad to be partners in.”
Harry explained that it was his time serving in Afghanistan that influenced him to launch the games. “February 2008 was an important moment in my life, when I was forced to leave Afghanistan. I’d been serving as an officer in the British Army until my presence on the front line was leaked to the media,” he said. “I could no longer stay with my soldiers, as it would have put them at greater risk. It was a decision over which I had no control, but the guilt of having to leave my guys behind was something I had to swallow.”
“It was that flight home from Afghanistan which put me on the path to create the Invictus Games,” he continued. “It struck me that this flight was just one of many, carrying home men and women whose lives would be changed forever, and some who had made the ultimate sacrifice … On returning home, I began to look for ways in which I could support those veterans who had returned with injuries that, in previous years, simply would have been un-survivable.”
Harry told the crowd that 2017 “will be your chance, your opportunity to salute those that serve your country; to salute those that put themselves in harm’s way so you don’t have to … Your support will create a life-changing atmosphere for competitors and spectators alike. Who knows, it may even help a Canadian clean sweep of medals!”
After the speeches, the duo headed to a sledge hockey exhibition game at Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. The event is being added to the 2017 games to honor Toronto’s role as host. “It’s Canada, everything happens on ice,” Harry joked of the sport.
The British royal recently starred in an Instagram battle where he exchanged videos with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, who joked they were going to “bring it” at the Florida games. Harry upped the ante by getting his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, to star in a response video.
The 2016 Invictus Games will feature more than 500 athletes from countries around the world taking part in five days of competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. ESPN’s five-day coverage of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 kicks off on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 8, at 8 p.m. ET and continues until Thursday, May 12.
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