Prince Harry delivered an entertaining and heartfelt speech as he introduced the British team who will be participating in the Invictus Games next month.
The games are a Paralympic-style sporting competition for wounded servicemen and women that the royal launched earlier this year.
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Arriving at Potters Field Park in Tower Bridge, London, Harry took to the stage to thank those who had supported him in his ambitious project.
Prince Harry laughs off “banter” from wounded servicemen and women
The popular Prince strode onto stage to laughter and light-heart hearted heckles from the 130-strong team of military personnel standing behind him.
“I”m going to get given so much banter from behind while doing this,” said Harry at the start of his speech. “So prosthetics, dogs, wheelchairs, high-performance cars, 4x4s, tattoos – we”ve got everything here, it could only be the Invictus Games.
Shortly after, a gust of wind blew Harry”s notes away, prompting more chuckles from his audience.
Gesturing to the wounded army members behind him, he continued: “These men and women here have achieved so much already but by being selected for this team is another significant milestone in their life beyond injury.
Prince Harry chases after his notes as the London wind blows them away
“Everyone here behind me will be competing for themselves, but also for their mates. Also the many doctors, nurses, physios and friends who have played a part in the rehabilitation of these and many other remarkable men and women.”
“Who”s dog is that” he asked, turning around and jokingly scolding “Fire” the team mascot.
“And above all the families of all those sitting here, and those who will be watching on television at home, thank you.”
Harry ended by wishing the British team the best of luck with their remaining four weeks of training, and encouraging them to “bring back as many medals” as they can, while also reminding them that the most important part of the games was their participation.
Prince Harry and Team GB”s pet mascot Fire
Team captain Dave Henson, who lost both his legs while on tour in Afghanistan, was then invited onto the stage to deliver a speech in which he echoed Harry”s invitation to watch the games firsthand around venues in London between 10 and 14 September.
The British team is made up of veterans and current members of the armed forces who will compete against 14 other nations. Some 69 per cent come from the army, 23 per cent from the naval service and eight per cent from the royal air force.
Harry – who is known as Captain Henry Wales in his military role – decided to launch the Invictus Games after “stealing” the idea of the Warrior Games in America.
Invictus is the Latin for unconquered – a word that embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded and injured and what they can achieve post-injury.