Prince Harry: Invictus 2017, the final countdown
Everyone's wild about Harry. The prince of hearts is in Toronto where he's celebrating the third staging of the Invictus Games. We already know how special this event is to Harry - the Games, for wounded service personnel, were his brainchild and he's been a driving force behind turning them into a global success story. And everyone who is anyone wanted to grab five minutes with the prince as the Games got underway. Ahead of the opening ceremony (attended by Meghan Markle, pics here), the prince was meeting, greeting and debating like never before. Here's what Harry did in the countdown to Invictus 2017.
Hello Toronto! Prince Harry has arrived at the @tplfoundation conference as his #InvictusGamesToronto programme gets underway. pic.twitter.com/payHtuLA4E— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 22, 2017
Let's start with the flashbulbs. There is huge global interest in this year's Invictus Games. The third running of the event, which started in London in 2014, is really pulling in the crowds and there was a big turnout to see Harry on his first engagement in Toronto on September 22nd. Spot the prince amid the sparkle as Harry arrives at True Patriot Love, Canada's Military Family Foundation looking after personnel and their loved ones.
We were thrilled to welcome HRH Prince Harry to CAMH, where he learned about our work in mental health - especially around youth mental illness. During his visit, Prince Harry met with some of our youth patients, 26 years after his mother the late Princess Diana visited youth clients at what was then called the Addiction Research Foundation. Thank you Prince Harry & the @kensingtonroyal family for your unfailing support and advocacy for mental health! . . . . . #Toronto #Canada #BritishRoyal #BritishRoyalFamily #KensingtonPalace #Royalty #royalvisit #RoyalFamily #princehenryofwales #princeharry #princeharrycanada #invictusgames #ig2017 #Invictusgames2017 #invictustoronto
Harry was there for a symposium about the issues facing injured service peronnel and their families. As in previous Invictus Games, the prince working tirelessly to ensure that the massive media interest in the event is focused on those for whom it was set up. In the build up to the opening ceremony, the prince took part in several more debates and discussions about the support on offer including a meeting at Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health where he heard about the treatment and research going on there.
We know from London and Orlando that there is nothing Prince Harry likes better once Invictus is under way than surprising competitors with a few behind the scenes visits and offering some moral support while they train. He wasted no time in Toronto, popping into the pool as soon as he could to cheer on the athletes as they made their final preparations.
And now it's the time for a ride with the pros at the children's Driving Challenge! pic.twitter.com/ouNUI1L0ir— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 23, 2017
Handsome prince plus cars, you say? Why, of course, that would be a pleasure. A soon to be sixth in line to the throne has got to relax even when he's steering a major global sporting event to success and Harry popped in on the Invictus Toronto Driving Challenge where he got speedy before getting super cute and taking part in a children's challenge.
As we get ready to open the #InvictusGames, I sat down with Prince Harry to talk about the power of sport & positive impact of the games. pic.twitter.com/Ii1CBXoJOy— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 23, 2017
Time to get high level. Since Invictus started in 2014, it's become a major event that has attracted support at the very highest level. Prince Harry held some pretty big meetings in the run up to the opening ceremony. Get ready to sigh, here he is with Justin Trudeau. The pair had a chat about sport and the positive impact of Invictus while quite a lot of those looking on tried to decide who was a) more charming and b) even more charming than that. Let's call it a draw and just enjoy the pictures.
Earlier, Prince Harry had held a meeting with the First Lady of the United States of America, Melania Trump, who is leading the US delegation at the Games. It's Melania's first solo overseas trip since her husband became US President and the catch up made the news around the world. The last Invictus Games, in Orlando, enjoyed the support of Michelle Obama and was also attended by George W Bush. It's all an indication of just how important Invictus has become.
Welcoming His Royal Highness Prince Harry to Toronto for @InvictusToronto. #InvictusGames pic.twitter.com/ZFFW501Nrc— John Tory (@JohnTory) September 23, 2017
But while Harry is the focus of Invictus, even a prince needs an official welcome to a city. The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, was on hand to greet the prince as the opening ceremony got closer.
Prince Harry was welcomed by Their Excellencies David and Sharon Johnston, he told them: "Its always a pleasure to be in Canada" 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/xaEJ74eE5N— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 23, 2017
The honours of opening the Games went to the outgoing Governor General of Canada, David Johnson, who had also met up with Harry in the run up to Invictus 2017. It was a busy and bouncy build up to the event and things are only going to get more interesting. Invictus 2017 is under way and Harry is in his element.
Photo credit: Kensington Palace Instagram
Photo credit: Kensington Palace Instagram