- It’s the first time that Harry and Meghan have been seen together at the games
Meghan Markle made her first speech of the Invictus Games tonight as she saluted all those attending the event for wounded and disabled military veterans.
She took centre stage where she gave an emotional address to 1,600 competitors, friends and family at a glittering party held in Dusseldorf hotel.
Prince Harry was at the event but took a back seat and allowed his wife to take the spotlight.
It is the first time that Harry and Meghan have been seen together at the games.
A source close to the couple said Meghan did not read from a prepared speech but spoke off the cuff.
Meghan Markle took centre stage at a glittering party held in Dusseldorf hotel
It’s the first time that Harry and Meghan have been seen together at the games
Meghan wore a black Banana Republic dress, Bottega Veneta belt and Aquazarra shoes
Duchess of Sussex meets Glory Essien at the Invictus Games
Prince Harry, who founded the competition in 2014 , took a back seat as the spotlight was on Meghan
Aides said Meghan, 42, did her own hair and make-up soon after arriving at her five star hotel in Dusseldorf and got ready for the event in just over an hour.
The event is being hosted by Dave Coker of the Fisher House Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the games.
Officials from the Invictus Games Foundation were also be in attendance.
The Mayor of Dusseldorf Dr Stephan Keller was at the event where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex mingled with the families.
The two-hour event featured traditional German food and the evening will feature music and entertainment.
Meghan made a cute reference to her children Archie and Lillibet during her maiden speech at the games.
Acknowledging that she had missed the opening of the days games she told the audience she had to spend time with her two young children in Los Angeles – buying them milkshakes and taking the eldest on the school run before leaving for Germany.
Meghan was cheered loudly when taking to the stage at a conference hall adjoining Dusseldorf airport
Ahead of taking to the stage the Duke and Duchess of Sussex met friends and families of competitors
Meghan and Harry pictured at the Invictus Games this evening
Prince Harry mainly took a back seat during his wife’s speech but said a few words at the end when she handed him the microphone
Meghan is pictured hugging Glory Essien as she meets competitors, friends and families
Meghan made a cute reference to her children Archie and Lillibet during her maiden speech at the Invictus Games
She also said she would one day want to bring her children to the event so they could experience it for themselves.
Meghan, who wore a black Banana Republic dress, Bottega Veneta belt and Aquazarra shoes, stood side by side with Harry, as she was cheered loudly when taking to the stage at a conference hall adjoining Dusseldorf airport.
She told the 1,600 guests: ‘It is so special to be here sorry I’m a little late to the party.
‘I had to spend a little more time getting our little ones settled at home and get them to drop off.
‘Three milkshakes and a school drop off and I just landed a couple of hours ago and I am thrilled that the first event I can do for Invictus is here with all of you. It is amazing and I hear it has got off to a good start so far.’
As the crowd cheered Harry beamed and clapped enthusiastically.
Meghan took an evening flight from Los Angeles and after a brief stopover in Heathrow flew on to Dusseldorf.
Meghan told the audience she had visited a Fisher House in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and was ‘moved’ by what she saw. The organisation helps veterans and their families and are one of the main sponsors of the Invictus Games.
Meghan beamed as she made her ‘off the cuff’ speech at the games this evening
Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet with competitors and their friends and family
Harry took over the microphone after his wife joked he was a ‘man of few words tonight’
In the speech Meghan told the 1,600 guests: ‘It is so special to be here sorry I’m a little late to the party’
She said:’ They understand, as does my husband does in previous Invictus Games how much rehabilitation matters, not just a solitary experience but as a family.
‘I am very proud of the Invictus family that are here. ‘Like so many of you, you know this is about friends and family and the community of Invictus has created and Fisher house created.
Meghan said she had been sent some gifts and was wearing a bead bracelet she had received.
She held up her arm to loud cheers and said the initials of someone who was unable to make the game had been etched on them.
‘So many people at home are rooting for you. Thank you, and look forward to a fantastic week. I can’t wait until one day to bring our kids so they can experience how fantastic it is.’
Harry took over the microphone after his wife joked he was a ‘man of few words tonight’.
Harry welcomed the friends and family and pointed out competitors were likely resting after a day of competition.
He urged those in the room to swap phone numbers and photos so they could connect as part of the healing process.
Meghan pictured smiling as poses for a photo with beaming Glory Essien
Harry welcomed the friends and family and pointed out competitors were likely resting after a day of competition
The Duchess of Sussex beams after arriving at Dusseldorf Airport this afternoon
Ahead of taking to the stage the couple were met with a number of competitors and family members of those competing in the games.
They presented the Duke and Duchess with a number of gifts including books, a bracelet and a medal which Prince Harry said to Meghan they should ‘Keep and bring with them’.
The books were given to the Duke by Jayson Hooker, who is the husband of Ainsley Hooker a competitor.
Upon meeting Jayson, Harry quipped to Meghan: ‘I grabbed them (the books) and I went to grab his beard and he was weirdly ok with it,’ and the group shared a laugh.
Mari-liis Hull from Estonia also met the royal couple. Her husband is competing in the 1500 running and as well as rowing . She Thanked the Duchess for being so supportive; to which she replied: ‘It’s so lovely to meet you’.
Meghan then met Nigerian competitor Glory Essien, who upon meeting the Duchess exclaimed: ‘You’re my Nigerian sister!’
Meghan squealed and gave her a big hug.
Harry revealed at the opening ceremony that his wife was cheering on the African nation as he discovered she is 43% Nigerian.
Prince Harry took a back seat and allowed his wife to take the spotlight as he stood next to her
Nigeria have been at the heart of this year’s Invictus Games as they are the first African country to ever compete.
On meeting Prince Harry and Meghan, Jenny Charles from the UK team said:
‘The Invictus Games wouldn’t exist without Harry and it was an honour to meet him and Meghan. Training for the Games these past 6 months has given my husband Charlie a purpose again and the whole family has seen such a change in him.
‘The Games has given me my husband back. When we spoke Harry joked that’s it’s no surprise that, as a former Marine, Charlie is taking part in all the swimming events! Harry remembered him from meeting him the other day, and he wished him luck for his events tomorrow. It was a really special meeting and one I won’t forget.’
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