Day 2 of the Invictus Games The Hague started off bright and
early for Meghan and Harry. They stopped in to meet the GB Team and staff at
the British Embassy in The Hague. Then the fun got going on the event grounds
with the first competition of the Games, the Jaguar Land Rover challenge course.
competitors had to navigate an obstacle course driving off-road Land Rover jeeps, and with the course designed to test each team’s driving skills, their precision,
the level of teamwork and navigational ability. Team France were the winners. Meghan
and Harry smart yet casually dressed in their jeans and wearing sunglasses watched
the event with Harry then jumping into a Land Rover with members of Team GB and taking a trial spin around the course. Harry helped to navigate, sticking his head out of the passenger side window. Harry must have liked the experience as he went around a second time. Meghan cheered on from the sidelines.
The competitors’ children were not left out of the fun. There
is a much smaller and flatter version of the Land Rover Challenge course for pint sized
children to drive. Meghan and Harry were chauffeured
around the children’s course in open top miniature Defenders. Meghan was
taken around the course by five-year-old French girl Mya Poirot and Harry
meanwhile was driven around by four-year-old Dutch girl Scarlet Vroegop. The
children’s driving skills were impressive, and given their important cargo,
they showed no signs of nerves.
Later in the evening was the official opening ceremony in
the 5000-spectator mobile theatre that was built especially for the occasion. The
event was a multi-media show with music, dance and speeches. The event started
with the 500 competitors from 17 countries entering the theatre followed by
Meghan and Harry and with a yellow, empty chair symbolizing the absence of those who should never be forgotten. Meghan gave a short speech, thanking the competitors for
their patience for the delay to the Games, which were twice postponed due to
COVID. Meghan acknowledged the emotional effect the delay of the Games had on
the competitors, saying everything the competitors went through to get here
will be worth it. Meghan thanked the
host country, the Netherlands, the competitors for their service, and the friends
and families of the competitors for their support – the entire Invictus Family –
before having the distinguished honour (she said) of introducing a man for who
she said she loves, respects and couldn’t
be prouder of – her husband and fellow veteran Prince Harry. Sealing her
introduction with a kiss on the lips. Prince Harry received a standing ovation before giving a passionate speech.
First Harry thanked the people of the Netherlands, its
government, and the Dutch Royal Family for hosting the Games and for making everyone
feel welcome. After a special mention to Team Ukraine for their bravery in
coming to the Games, Harry’s reiterated both his and the Invictus communities
support for the country of Ukraine, saying “we stand with you but still you deserve
more from us." He hoped that the Games would allow Team Ukraine to use their voices to tell the world what is taking place in Ukraine.
Then Harry, as only Harry can, spoke from his heart
expressing his respect for the Invictus Family. He spoke of the “heart of the
warrior beating strongly”, of the strength of the courage of the competitors. Harry
spoke of how Harry reminds his son Archie to show strength of character. Harry
said nothing would make he and his wife prouder than for Archie, when he grows
up, to show the same character as the competitors at the Games, their resilience and their heart. (Cue tears).