The Sussexes had every inch of the Invictus Games grounds covered on Easter Sunday as the sporting competition for wounded, injured, and sick military personnel and veterans saw its first full day of sporting events.
Both Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan were seen cheering on and showing their support for competitors from around the world at a number of different activities in The Hague, Netherlands. And for young children whose parents are busy taking part in the games, there was also a surprise visit from the Duchess of Sussex.
On April 17, Meghan ducked into the British Embassy tent to join a dozen kids and some of their moms as they listened to a reading of classic children’s book Hairy Maclary—a classic series she admitted to the group that she has read to her own children, Archie and Lilibet.
With Harry, the couple started their third day at The Hague’s Zuiderpark with track and field events featuring competitors from 17 different countries. Dressed in a Brandon Maxwell jacket, Meghan and Harry immediately gravitated to some of the competitors present.
“We’re going to be cheering you on all the way!” the duchess told members of Team Ukraine, who stopped for selfies and photographs with the royal couple. They also took time out to chat with athletes from Team Iraq before rushing over to pet a service dog from the Netherlands team. “Well I could just fall in love with you!” Meghan cooed as she stroked golden labrador, Castor, as Harry chatted to owner and veteran Eric Hartwich, who suffers from severe PTSD after being deployed to the frontlines of Bosnia in 2007.
At the shot put final, both Harry and Meghan cheered and clapped as they watched Team Ukraine’s Rodion Sitdikov get a gold medal-winning result of 9.46 metres. It was a third medal for the Ukrainian competitors, with Artem Lukashuk and Ivan Heretsun winning silver and bronze medals in the long jump.
With three events happening almost simultaneously on Sunday, the Sussexes wasted little time in moving around, heading over to the Sports Campus for a sitting volleyball match between Australia and Netherlands.
Paralympian gold medalist and former Invictus medalist Jaco Van Gass sat with the Sussexes during the match. The British Army veteran, who suffered life-changing injuries after surviving a rocket attack in 2009, first met Harry in 2011 and has remained a friend since. “[Harry’s] back with his own people, he’s back in an environment that he’s so natural in and that he cares about,” he said. “I think that’s the most important thing—this great depth of care that he has for the games.”
Though Meghan left in the afternoon, Harry to cheer on competitors at the archery arena. Clapping for each country taking part, including USA, South Korea, and Romania, Harry was also joined by crew from his forthcoming Netflix production about the games.
The Duke of Sussex watches Gabriel George from team USA in the archery during the Invictus Games at Zuiderpark, the Hague, Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/OUDilobCgE— Aaron Chown (@aaronchown) April 17, 2022
“It’s incredible to watch you in action,” the duke told U.S. Navy veteran Gabriel “Gabe” George from of Jacksonville, Florida, who lost an arm in 2008 after arriving home from a deployment. Heart of Invictus, which will stream on Netflix later this year, will tell the stories and share the journeys of competitors like Gabe as they prepare for the games, which were delayed for two years due to the pandemic.
Tomorrow, Prince Harry will continue his time at the Invictus Games, an event he told guests during Saturday’s opening ceremony was “full of people of substance, of resilience, of strength, and of heart.”
Last night Prince Harry gave an exclusive interview to two youth reporters for the Netherlands-based De Kindercorrespondent—a new digital outlet focused on making the voices of young people heard. Safe to say they were happy to meet him! https://t.co/2aWGaLdQVa pic.twitter.com/gHsZDtNH0y— Omid Scobie (@scobie) April 17, 2022
He echoed similar sentiments when giving his first interview in Europe since stepping away from his senior working royal role over two years ago. Speaking to youth reporters Sophia, 11, and Jay, 12, from Netherlands’ De Kindercorrespondent, a new outlet focused on making the voices of young people heard, he shared what made the games so important to the world.
“These individuals signed up to serve, but at the same time once they had their uniform taken off or removed, they’re still serving,” Harry said. “Life is about service, service to others, being kind to each other, friendship.”
When asked what his wish for Archie and Lilibet is, he replied, “To grow up in a better world. To grow up in a fairer world, a safer world, a more equal world. It’s not going to be easy, but I will never, ever rest until I, as a parent, have at least tried to make the world a better place for them.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.