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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Catherine Wylie

Meghan to join Harry at Invictus Games in The Hague

PA Wire

The Duchess of Sussex will join her husband at the Invictus Games which begin in the Netherlands this weekend, a spokesperson for the couple has confirmed.

The international competition will take place in The Hague from April 16 to 22 after being delayed by the pandemic.

Harry founded the games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

On Monday evening, a spokesperson for the duke and duchess confirmed that Meghan will join Harry at the Games in The Hague for the first few days.

The Invictus Games was where the couple chose to make their first public appearance together almost five years ago.

Meghan made her first appearance at an official engagement attended by Harry on September 24 2017 when she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Toronto, Canada, although the pair sat about 18 seats apart.

The following day, the pair emerged hand in hand to make their first official public appearance together at the wheelchair tennis.

Earlier on Monday, Team UK competitors said they would like to see Meghan, and the couple’s children, two-year-old Archie and nine-month-old Lili, at the Games.

The children are not expected to be in attendance.

Daniel O’Connor, 31, from Hereford, is competing in archery and indoor rowing, and said Harry is “someone who cares a lot”.

Mr O’Connor, who suffers from chronic pain, said: “He has in his mind the things he wants to achieve in his life, the things he’d like to see change, and he tries to work towards them.

“And if everyone had that attitude you can imagine how different the world would be.”

Asked if he would like to see Meghan at the event, Mr O’Connor said: “I think everyone in the Games, all the competitors, are bringing friends and family, and I think if we have the right to bring friends and family then surely Prince Harry does.”

He said anyone who wants to support the Invictus Games is welcome with open arms, adding that Meghan has been to previous Invictus events.

“So she has shown a continued support of the Games.

“I think she’s doing a great job,” he said, adding: “I would love to see her at the Games.

“If she is, great, and I hope they bring the kids as well so they’ve got the whole family there.”

I think it's a great way to kind of highlight to his family what he has achieved and what he is still achieving

Lucy Holt

Lucy Holt, 29, from Lincoln, said it would be “a nice surprise” if the family turned up.

Ms Holt, who is competing in powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair basketball and athletics, said Harry’s family are very supportive of the Invictus Games.

“I think it’s a great way to kind of highlight to his family what he has achieved and what he is still achieving,” she said.

Ms Holt said the Games are great for children to see as they showcase what can be achieved with disabilities.

Jason Finlay, 50, who lives in Amesbury, said he found Harry “very relaxing” to talk to on the couple of times they met.

Mr Finlay, who is competing in sitting volleyball and athletics, said: “It was great to meet him, to be honest.

“You can see the military ethos that he has through his military service.”

He said it would be nice to meet Meghan, adding she would be a good ambassador for Invictus.

Harry and Meghan, who live in the US, did not attend the memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh in London last month.

Harry is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

The duke wants to bring his children to visit from the US, but he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous, his legal representative has said.

Team UK will compete in nine sports at the Invictus Games: athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

Harry played an instrumental role in bringing the Games to the UK in 2014 when 300 competitors from 13 countries took part in the inaugural competition in London.

A trip to the Warrior Games in Colorado a year earlier had been the inspiration, as Harry saw first hand how sport helped inspire recovery and support rehabilitation of wounded troops.

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