Coronavirus: Prince Harry issues heartfelt message as Invictus Games cancelled

The games were scheduled to happen in May in The Hague

Sophie Gallagher
Friday 20 March 2020 11:48
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Prince Harry cancels Invictus Games

Prince Harry has issued an apology over the decision to cancel the 2020 Invictus Games, which was due to be held in The Hague in May.

The Duke of Sussex filmed himself saying it had been an “incredibly difficult decision” but was necessary due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak.

The royal, who appeared in the video alone, said: “I’m so grateful for everybody who has worked so incredibly hard over the last couple of weeks to try and find any alternative to try and carry out these games, in a different way and in a safe way.

“But this decision was the most sensible and the safest option for all of you and your families as well as everybody else involved in these games.”

He added: “I know how disappointed you all must be. This is a focus that so many of you need.”

Harry, who is an ongoing patron of the Invictus Games Foundation despite his decision to step down as a senior royal, was due to travel with his wife Meghan Markle to the event.

Organisers said it will be rescheduled to May or June 2021, but have not confirmed a date.

The duke suggested that competitors should see the delay as an opportunity “to get even fitter” and be “at your absolute top mental and physical fitness”.

“Please take care of yourselves, but do what you do best which is reaching out to other people, be it those that still wear the uniform, used to wear the uniform or just those people in your community who you know may be suffering or may be vulnerable during this period.”

The annual competition brings together former and current servicemen and women who have been injured or wounded, from more than 20 countries.

In a statement the Invictus Games Foundation said it “did not wish to add to the complexity of the response, or increase the risk to those involved” by bringing together an international “and potentially vulnerable” audience.

Harry has attended all the Invictus Games since the first in London in 2014 and his first public appearance with his now-wife, Meghan, came at the Invictus Games in Toronto.

Coronavirus has now infected over 240,000 people worldwide and has led to the closure of schools across the UK as well as a policy of “social distancing” requiring people to work from home where possible and not visit pubs, restaurants or theatres.

Prince Harry launched the Invictus Games 2020 in collaboration with Bon Jovi; the pair appeared at Abbey Road studios in London together last month.

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