Prince Harry gives emotional speech at Invictus Games opening; Rutte welcomes Ukrainian team
Prince Harry was clearly emotional on Saturday evening when he received a standing ovation from the audience at the Invictus Games in The Hague. The prince and his wife Meghan addressed the public during the opening of the sporting event for physically and mentally injured soldiers.
Meghan emphasized the importance of the military personnel present, but also the presence of the Ukrainian team that could still be present in the country despite the war. "We all support the Ukrainian team," said Meghan, who thanked the military, veterans and their families for their commitment and support. Meghan then introduced her husband Harry, who himself had been in the army for 10 years.
Prince Harry also paid special attention to the Ukrainian team. "The courage it took to come is indescribable. You want to tell your truth, the truth," he said to them. "The world is united behind you. I hope we learn how the world can better support you."
Prime Minister Mark Rutte also specifically extended a welcome to the team from Ukraine in his opening ceremony speech. After his welcome, there were loud applause from the hall for the Ukrainian participants. Some Ukrainian team members were not present at the military and veteran sports event because they are fighting in their home country.
"Like you, we think of them," Rutte said. "Please know that we are all behind you. That we support Ukraine."
Rutte also welcomed all other athletes and attendees, including Prince Harry, his wife Meghan and Princess Margriet. The Prime Minister called the participating athletes a "shining example."
"Let's show together that unity and solidarity will always win over confrontation and conflict," he said. "Sport brings people together. That's what the Invictus Games stand for."
The Invictus Games, initiated by Prince Harry, will run until April 22. The event in and around the Zuiderpark in The Hague was initially planned for 2020, but had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Princess Margriet was also present at the opening ceremony. King Willem-Alexander will attend the closing ceremony.
Reporting by ANP.