14:05 GMT01 March 2021
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    The Duke of Sussex, who formally ditched his royal duties late last month, addressed the veterans and physically handicapped servicemen who take part in his sporty brainchild, the Invictus Games, in a bid to cheer them up as this year’s event has been delayed due to the coronavirus.

    In an expressive video message this Victory Day weekend, Prince Harry, speaking from his new Los Angeles home, affirmed that there has of late been dramatic changes in everyone’s life.

    The 35-year-old made the special recording dedicated to what would have been the now delayed opening ceremony of The Invictus Games 2020, in the Netherlands, so as to cheer up fans and the Invictus community amid the persisting across-the-board lockdown.
    "Life has changed dramatically for all of us since I was last in the Hague, but the IG2020 team has done an incredible job to adapt so quickly to the situation and they are busy putting plans in place for next year", Harry explained at length, adding the new dates will be shared with the public in the near future.

    The Duke of Sussex expressed hope that all of those in the Invictus family are "coping well" and giving a helping hand to each other at this tumultuous time. "I continue to hear amazing stories of families coming together over online platforms, but please, look out for those who have gone quiet or that are no longer visible on the chat sites", the ex-royal said.

    He welcomed the planned virtual activities that he hopes would see the Invictus community become engaged, "because you never know, it might be fun and a change from the norm".

    "Throughout this week we will be seeing and hearing from many Invictus competitors; their experience and resilience in dealing with mental health challenges is something we could all learn lessons from", Harry remarked, going on to praise medical staffers’ tremendous efforts as the healthcare crisis rages on.

    He further expressed his delight about the Invictus Games Foundation preparing a virtual conference with international speakers and participants expected to share "their thoughts and experience of resilience and why the Invictus spirit is so important".

    "Stay safe, and stay tuned", the Invictus Games board posted on Instagram, in a caption to Harry's video. The Duke created the adaptive multi-sport tournament in 2014 in London after being inspired by a similar large-scale event overseas - the US Warrior Games.

    In it, wounded and sick armed services personnel and veterans compete in nine sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing.

    Last month, the Duke, together with his wife Meghan Markle and now 1-year-old son crossed into the US from Canada, where they briefly stayed after exiting their senior royal roles, right at the onset of the corona quarantine measures.

    They are believed to have moved to Los Angeles, where Meghan spent her youth, to get closer to her mother Doria and lead a personally and financially independent life.

    The couple, who are now free of their senior royal functions, are understood to have zeroed in on efforts to set up a US-based foundation -named Archewell after their son Archie Harrison - that would focus on well-being and lifestyle in a broad sense.

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    Tags:
    Victory Day, sport, new projects, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, royals
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