- The Duke gave a moving speech at closing ceremony in Dusseldorf, Germany
- He appeared to evoke memories of Princess Diana and importance of bagpipes
Prince Harry has said not to define people by their past pain or back story.
The Duke of Sussex was visibly emotional in a heartfelt speech yesterday evening at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The 39-year-old took to the stage wearing a black suit with a black dress shirt underneath.
Within in his five-minute crowd-pleasing monologue, Harry spoke directly to the competitors and how their ‘vulnerability’ had ‘opened the hearts’ of millions of people all over the world.
‘Your mission to heal and grow has been shining example to us all,’ the Duke said.
‘You have shown us the power of not defining people by assumption or their backstory or past pain, but rather instead on their ability, how they show up and who they are in the present.
READ MORE: Prince Harry gets emotional as he delivers a moving speech at Invictus Games
‘After this week, know that you are all leading the way for defining human potential and human decency.’
Harry’s words were met with cheers and applause by the crowd within the Merkur-Spiel-Arena as he paid homage to the competitors who had ‘provided the magic’ during the games for the wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women.
He also spoke of how much bagpipes mean to him, in what appeared to be a nod to how they evoke memories of his Princess Diana’s death.
In his memoir, Spare, Harry wrote about how he and Prince William had snuck out of bed the evening before their mother’s death to meet the Queen’s piper and play with his bagpipes.
He wrote: ‘With bagpipes it’s not the tune, it’s the tone. Thousands of years old, bagpipes are built to amplify what’s already in the heart. If you’re feeling silly, bagpipes make you sillier.
‘If you’re angry, bagpipes bring your blood to a higher boil. And if you’re in grief, even if you’re twelve years old and don’t know you’re in grief, maybe especially if you don’t know, bagpipes can drive you mad.’
During the speech, he spoke of a meeting he had the day before with Canadian team member Master Corporal James Gendron.
‘While we were chatting I noticed bagpipes lying on floor in the far corner,’ he said.
‘Some will know what bagpipes mean to me, so I couldn’t help but hope they would be played. Little did I know that 30 minutes later it would be James picking them up and offering to play.
READ MORE: Meghan backs Team USA! Duchess of Sussex hugs athlete draped in American flag as she takes centre stage on final day of Invictus Games
‘Yet I had no idea what they meant to him nor did I know what memories they triggered for him. In Afghanistan, he played 63 ramp ceremonies – 63 caskets for 63 souls for 63 families.
‘For four years after that last ceremony he couldn’t touch them. This week he wasn’t even sure whether he could bring himself to play them, but he did. What had once haunted him, dare I say it, may now be what helps heal him. Thank you, James, for your service, your courage, and for sharing your gift.’
Meghan Markle stood alongside her husband in the crowd in a glowing green dress. During the ceremony she couldn’t hide her pride as she beamed at Team USA when they took their place for the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games.
She looked on adoringly as the team walked on stage to Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. Meghan clapped along to the song as it reverberated around the Merkur Spiel-Arena and blew kisses to the team.
Prince Harry also joined the applause from his front row seat – and took to the stage to thank people for coming.
Thumping dance music greeted each of the teams as they took to the stage with the Ukrainian team given a standing ovation.
Harry and Meghan stood clapping each of the teams. He was sat next to Elke Budenbender the wife of the German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Harry, dressed in a dark suit and dark shirt, could be seen leaning over to speak to Mr Steinmeier during the closing ceremony.
Meghan, meanwhile, was glowing in green, wearing an £830 Raylene dress from Cult Gaia, laser-cut with floral patterns.
She also wore a pair of £525 Purist leather pumps from Aquazzura, £595 Kimai diamond earrings made with lab-grown stones, a £5,000 Cartier bracelet and a £50,000 Lorraine Schwartz emerald cut diamond pinky ring.