Prince Harry has issued a powerful reminder about military uniforms during his closing speech at this year’s Invictus Games.
The Duchess of Sussex took the stage on 16 September to celebrate the final night of the annual multi-sporting event for wounded, injured, and sick veterans. After describing the “magic” that participants brought to the games, he acknowledged that these veterans’ actions throughout the week had a huge impact “on millions of people around the world”.
Harry – who served 10 years in the British Army himself – then praised veterans for showing people how “joy can emerge from struggle”. He also recalled how he spoke to participants about the opportunity they had to represent their country in the games, after serving in the military.
“A week ago, I stood here and told you about the significance of being able to wear your nation’s flag again. And so many of you have told me that hit you right here,” he said, while gesturing towards his heart. “For many of you, the uniform that you’ve been wearing this past week will give you a new story to tell. And for others, it may give your old uniform new meaning.”
Harry then issued a reminder about military uniforms, as he told veterans that these clothes don’t have to define the type of people they are.
“But I’m here to remind you that after all of this, you don’t need to rely on a uniform, nor should you ever feel lost without one,” he said. “Why? Because everything you need is already within you.”
After noting that every participant will have different memories of the games, he shared another thing that he hoped all veterans would gain from the event.
“My hope is that every memory made brings a smile to your face, through a sense of belonging, and an opportunity for you and your family to look forward with pride and with purpose,” he said.
During his 10 years of active service in the British Army, Prince Harry completed two tours of duty on the frontlines in Afghanistan. One year before resigning from the military, he also co-founded the Invictus Games.
Throughout his service, he earned a variety medals, such as the KCVO Neck Order and Star, which is awarded as part of the Royal Victorian Order – a monarchical order of knighthood. Harry was knighted by his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in 2015 for his service to the monarchy.
After Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, officially stepped back from their duties as senior members of the royal family in 2020, he was stripped of three honorary military titles, including Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving. His royal patronages were returned to the Queen and redistributed to working members of the royal family.
During the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games on 16 September, the Duchess of Sussex cheered her husband on in the audience, as she wore her most glamorous look of the week: A green strapless dress by the brand Cult Gaia, featuring an outer layer of leather floral appliqué. She paired the £830 dress, which is described by the LA-based label as “an artistically crafted gown that plays with texture and pattern”, with her go-to beige Aquazzura heels.
The luxurious outfit choice also came days after the former Suits star was praised by fans for mixing high-end styles with more affordable high street labels, such as Zara and J Crew, for various Invictus events.
Harry initially started off the Invictus Games without his wife by his side, as she arrived in Germany a few days after him. During her speech to announced her arrival on 12 September, she joked that her and Harry’s four-year-old son, Archie, and one-year-old daughter, Lilibet, were the reasons she was late.
“It is so special to be here, and I’m so sorry that I was a little late for the party,” Meghan said. “Just like so many of you, we know this is about family and friends and the community that Invictus has created, that Fischer House has created, and so I had to just spend a little bit more time getting our little ones settled home.”