The Duke of Sussex celebrated the fifth anniversary of his adaptive sports event at Guildhall in London on Tuesday. During his moving speech, Harry reflected on how far the event has come and even gave a sweet nod to his 4-month-old son, Archie.
"Wow, what a huge amount has happened in five years. Medals have been won, children have been born -- not mine necessarily, but JJ's," he said.
"The one thing that hasn't happened is limbs haven't grown back. But one thing I can assure you is that mental health has completely changed with every single one of these individuals," he noted. "... We genuinely had no idea the impact this was going to have. 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."
Harry went on, reflecting on the messages he received from people in 2014, who were inspired by the feats at the Invictus Games.
"I think, for me, this has always been about the competitors and their families. What they represent, the strength and determination, the grit, every part of it," he said, comparing the strength of the Invictus competitors to what he saw exhibited by soldiers on the battlefield.
"I think, in the last five years, 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 a better understanding for those people who put the uniform on," he said.
"And to see you guys serve again and enjoy it so much, because it is literally in your DNA, means that every single person in this room, the 65 million-plus viewers on the BBC and people from all over the world have had a chance to be invigorated in a way that they never thought was possible," Harry concluded. So, in summary, those five years have literally not only changed lives, but you’ve actually saved lives, potentially your own but all those people who have seen you operate on the sports field. So, thank you and well done."
Harry started the Invictus Games in 2014 to support wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. He and now-wife Meghan Markle made one of their first high-profile appearances as a couple at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada. They attended the event in Sydney, Australia, as a married couple the following year. The 2020 games will take place in The Hague, Netherlands.