Prince Harry has opened up about the incredible The Invictus Games event he set up five years ago, in an emotional speech celebrating the anniversary of the organization he established.
The Invictus Games is a global sporting event where wounded, sick, or injured service men and woman compete in nine sports, including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing. The games aims to provide an opportunity for service personnel to be involved in a supportive community with like-minded people.
The Duke of Sussex gave a moving speech at an event to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Invictus Games at the Guidhall in London, donning a smart blue suit and green tie to deliver a heartwarming message about the importance of the event.
“Wow, what a huge amount has happened in five years,” Harry began, while describing working with the inspirational sportspeople behind the foundation as “genuinely one of the greatest honors of my life.”
The prince said the groundbreaking event had managed to change perceptions around the world about mental health and what people with disabilities can do.
“The one thing that hasn’t happened is limbs haven’t grown back,” Prince Harry said.
“But one thing I can assure you is that mental health has completely changed with every single one of these individuals.
“We always knew that it was going to be great for the competitors and their families but that ripple effect that literally swept across the globe was quite astonishing.
“These guys have completely changed how we view disability, how we view mental health. This is all them. We merely created a platform in order for them to shine and it’s genuinely been one of the greatest honors of my life to get to know all you guys and to see you through this process.
“We’ve had some laughs, we’ve had some tears, and I can’t ever thank you enough for the impact that you have had across the world, to be able to create better understanding for those people who put the uniform on.”
In a candid video uploaded to Harry and Meghan’s official Instagram account Sussex Royal, the Duke opened up about his very first Invictus Games experience and how nervous he was at the time.
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Today marks the 5 year anniversary of the #InvictusGames! These games have made it possible for thousands of wounded and injured servicemen and women to use the power of sport to rehabilitate themselves and those around them, while inspiring people all over the world. • “Thank you to everyone who has played a part in the Invictus movement, from you the competitors and your families, to the thousands of volunteers and supporters – you have all guarded the Invictus spirit, while creating a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country at home or abroad. Thank you for the inspiration, thank you for the laughs and thank you for the memories! I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved together. Once served always serving!” – The Duke of Sussex The @WeAreInvictusGames was founded by The Duke of Sussex in 2014 after he saw the power of sport in recovery while visiting the warrior games in Colorado Springs USA. The Duke was so moved by what he witnessed, he felt inspired to expand this concept on a global scale. Since then this non profit organisation has staged games in London 🇬🇧 Orlando 🇺🇸 Toronto 🇨🇦 and Sydney 🇦🇺 and next year’s games will be held in The Hague 🇳🇱 in May 2020. . #FavouriteInvictusMoment Video ©️ SussexRoyal
“I was so nervous, I was shaking,” Harry confessed in the clip, adding that he was worried that no one would turn up and wanted to ensure his speech was perfect.
“I knew I had a certain window to be able to get my words out, and we were also running behind. So I rushed it,” he laughed. “It was probably one of the worst speeches I’ve ever given.”
The speech is one of Prince Harry’s last official engagements before he and Meghan will head off on their tour to Africa with baby Archie later this month.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.