The Duke of Sussex is in Germany for the duration of the event — including his 39th birthday next week!
The Duke of Sussex, 38, stepped out in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Saturday as the sixth installment of the event kicked off. Harry, who served in the British Army, created the Paralympics-style competition for veterans and service personnel, with the first event taking place in 2014.
After arriving in Düsseldorf on Friday, he was spotted meeting with athletes and volunteers ahead of the opening ceremony on Saturday. Prince Harry, sporting a black polo with the Invictus Games logo, posed for a group photo with volunteer categorizers, which was shared on the Invictus Games' X (formerly Twitter) page.
"The Duke of Sussex dropped in this morning to meet with our international group of volunteer categorisers!" the snap was captioned. "This group, led by @weareinvictus, conduct all assessments of the competitors at the #InvictusGames to facilitate fair competition in recovery."
Johnny Ball, the founder of CampaignForce, also shared a candid photo of Prince Harry on social media.
"With the main man himself," Ball wrote. "Without this guy, our relationship with how we view our veterans would be all the worse. Thank you for giving us the Invictus Games. Thank you for helping me find me again. Thank you."
During the Invictus Games, over 500 athletes from 21 countries will compete in 10 sports.
The opening ceremony set for Saturday features a performance by Macklemore in addition to Prince Harry taking the stage to give a speech.
Prince Harry will stay in Germany for the full duration of the Invictus Games — including his 39th birthday on Friday!
Although he's starting the trip solo, Meghan Markle is set to join her husband in Europe soon. Last month, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that Meghan, 42, will attend.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are delighted to attend the Invictus Games 2023 in Düsseldorf. The Duke will be in attendance throughout the entirety of the games and will be joined by The Duchess shortly after the games begin,” a spokesperson said in a statement shared with PEOPLE.
The closing ceremony is set for Saturday, Sept. 16, and will feature a performance by Rita Ora.
Last month, Prince Harry appeared in a video message celebrating the approaching Games.
"I hope you're excited," he said. "I'm probably a little bit nervous — I'm both. But I can't wait to see all of you and have the whole community together once again — it's been too long."
Noting that some competitors will be attending the Games for the first time while others might be returning, Harry said, "Either way, there will be an element of excitement as well as nervousness, and I'm sure some of you have been waiting for this moment for a very long time."
"You're all on different parts of your healing journey — we all are, we always will be — but I can assure you that this experience will hopefully be life-changing, and you will come out of it a better person for sure," he said.
Prince Harry shouted out Israel, Nigeria and Colombia for joining this year.
"I can't wait to have every continent represented — except Antarctica. We're still working on that," he quipped with a smile.
Last September, Prince Harry was joined by Meghan in Düsseldorf for the Invictus Games One Year to Go event. After walking the red carpet hand-in-hand and greeting local officials, the couple chatted with well-wishers who were gathered outside the town hall — including taking a few selfies!
Düsseldorf was first announced as a future host city for the Invictus Games — Harry's international adaptive sports competition for injured, sick and wounded service personnel and veterans — in 2020 with the event initially set for 2022. However, when the coronavirus pandemic delayed the 2020 Invictus Games in The Hague, the Netherlands until 2022, preparations for Düsseldorf were also bumped back.
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Prince Harry, who lives in California with Meghan and their children, traveled to the U.K. earlier this week. On Thursday, he attended the WellChild Awards in London, and on Friday, the first anniversary of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth's death, he was seen at Windsor Castle visiting her burial site.
At Thursday's event, Prince Harry took the stage to present the award for Inspirational Child (aged 4 to 6) to Violet Seymour and gave a speech, where he spoke about his grandmother.
"As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away," he said. "As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her. And that's precisely why I know, exactly one year on, she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we're together continuing to spotlight such an incredible community."
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