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Prince Harry ‘back among his own people’ as he and Meghan enjoy first full day of Invictus Games

Written by on 17 April 2022

The Duke of Sussex is “back among his own people”, a war veteran friend of his has said, as a beaming Harry appeared at ease with his wife, Meghan, on the first full day of the Invictus Games.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posed for photographs and met and hugged competitors at the event at the Zuiderpark in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The couple spent Easter Sunday morning at the athletics track and were in the front row for the sitting volleyball.

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 2:02 ‘I could not love and respect him more’ The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hug Team United Kingdom competitor Lisa Johnston at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: A hug for Team UK competitor Lisa Johnston

Jaco van Gass, a Paralympic gold medallist and former Invictus competitor who suffered life-changing injuries with the British Army, sat with them.

Mr van Gass, 35, met Harry, 37, in 2011 when the duke joined the record-breaking team of wounded soldiers he was part of that trekked unsupported to the North Pole.

Read more: Meghan and Harry in intimate display on stage as pair open Invictus Games

The Duke of Sussex poses for a photo with competitors from Team Ukraine at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: The Duke of Sussex with members of Team Ukraine

He said it was “amazing” to see Harry and Meghan, 40, adding that it was “wonderful” to catch up with them and they were “friendly as ever”.

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He said Harry told him he is having a “really, really good time”.

Mr van Gass said: “Invictus is his family, basically. There’s so many familiar faces that he’s not seen in a while, and again to all the nations, just to catch up with them again.

“He’s back with his own people, he’s back in an environment that he’s so natural in and that he cares about. I think that’s the most important thing – this great depth of care that he has for the games.”

Read more: William and Kate at traditional Easter Sunday service

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games sitting volleyball event in the Invictus Games Stadium, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: The couple at the sitting volleyball

The duke founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the chance to compete in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

Harry, who served in the British Army for a decade, was stripped of his honorary military roles after the duke and Meghan stepped back from royal duties.

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Harry and Meghan are driven in mini Land Rovers at Invictus Games 0:39 Harry and Meghan driven in mini Land Rovers

The event has a special significance for the couple, who chose to make their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games almost five years ago.

Mr van Gass said he also spoke briefly with Meghan.

Read more: Harry and Meghan seen in Europe together for first time since stepping back as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games sitting volleyball event in the Invictus Games Stadium, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: Harry and Meghan did not attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month

“She’s having a good time,” he said. “She’s in really good form and really enjoying all the events… it’s so inspirational”.

The couple, now based in California, visited the Queen in Windsor on Thursday, having flown in from the US.

The Duchess of Sussex at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: The Duchess of Sussex was ‘in really good form and really enjoying all the events’

Harry and Meghan’s trips to the UK and the Netherlands come after the pair were absent from the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month.

The couple have two young children, Archie, who is three-years-old next month and Lilibet, whose first birthday is in June.

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Prince Harry ‘back among his own people’ as he and Meghan enjoy first full day of Invictus Games

Written by on 17 April 2022

The Duke of Sussex is “back among his own people”, a war veteran friend of his has said, as a beaming Harry appeared at ease with his wife, Meghan, on the first full day of the Invictus Games.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posed for photographs and met and hugged competitors at the event at the Zuiderpark in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The couple spent Easter Sunday morning at the athletics track and were in the front row for the sitting volleyball.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

 2:02 ‘I could not love and respect him more’ The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hug Team United Kingdom competitor Lisa Johnston at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: A hug for Team UK competitor Lisa Johnston

Jaco van Gass, a Paralympic gold medallist and former Invictus competitor who suffered life-changing injuries with the British Army, sat with them.

Mr van Gass, 35, met Harry, 37, in 2011 when the duke joined the record-breaking team of wounded soldiers he was part of that trekked unsupported to the North Pole.

Read more: Meghan and Harry in intimate display on stage as pair open Invictus Games

The Duke of Sussex poses for a photo with competitors from Team Ukraine at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: The Duke of Sussex with members of Team Ukraine

He said it was “amazing” to see Harry and Meghan, 40, adding that it was “wonderful” to catch up with them and they were “friendly as ever”.

More on Duchess Of Sussex

He said Harry told him he is having a “really, really good time”.

Mr van Gass said: “Invictus is his family, basically. There’s so many familiar faces that he’s not seen in a while, and again to all the nations, just to catch up with them again.

“He’s back with his own people, he’s back in an environment that he’s so natural in and that he cares about. I think that’s the most important thing – this great depth of care that he has for the games.”

Read more: William and Kate at traditional Easter Sunday service

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games sitting volleyball event in the Invictus Games Stadium, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: The couple at the sitting volleyball

The duke founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the chance to compete in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

Harry, who served in the British Army for a decade, was stripped of his honorary military roles after the duke and Meghan stepped back from royal duties.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Harry and Meghan are driven in mini Land Rovers at Invictus Games 0:39 Harry and Meghan driven in mini Land Rovers

The event has a special significance for the couple, who chose to make their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games almost five years ago.

Mr van Gass said he also spoke briefly with Meghan.

Read more: Harry and Meghan seen in Europe together for first time since stepping back as senior royals

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games sitting volleyball event in the Invictus Games Stadium, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: Harry and Meghan did not attend the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month

“She’s having a good time,” he said. “She’s in really good form and really enjoying all the events… it’s so inspirational”.

The couple, now based in California, visited the Queen in Windsor on Thursday, having flown in from the US.

The Duchess of Sussex at the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.  Image: The Duchess of Sussex was ‘in really good form and really enjoying all the events’

Harry and Meghan’s trips to the UK and the Netherlands come after the pair were absent from the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month.

The couple have two young children, Archie, who is three-years-old next month and Lilibet, whose first birthday is in June.

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