The Duke of Sussex hailed the ‘Invictus family’ as a symbol of strength, honour and optimism as he officially opened the Invictus Games in front of hundreds of athletes and adoring fans today.
Prince Harry and Meghan, wearing a Stella McCartney dress and a coat by Gillian Anderson for Winser, watched as artists and dancers took to the stage at Sydney Opera House during the glittering opening ceremony.
A band with bagpipes performed a rendition of You’re the Voice by John Farnham, hailed as Australia’s unofficial national anthem, as competitors filed into Sydney Opera House.
The royal couple were greeted by crowds of adoring fans before Harry took to the stage to praise the ‘selfless duty’ of the athletes taking part in the contest, which he launched in 2014.
Just a few hours earlier, Harry and Meghan were spotted enjoying a rare moment of solitude as the Duke practised his speech at the empty venue.
Supportive Meghan took a front row seat to watch her husband of five months take to the stage during their official 16-day Autumn tour. They are visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
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Indigenous Australians dazzle hundreds of athletes with their dance performance at the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Indigenous Australians carrying boomerangs perform during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
A jaw-dropping fire display at Sydney Opera House, where Prince Harry will address crowds during the opening ceremony today
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watch the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games, which was delayed following an electrical storm in Sydney
‘Strength, honour and optimism’: Prince Harry praised the athletes taking part in the Invictus Games during his speech
Prince Harry addresses 500 athletes and their supporters at Sydney Opera House during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Artists performing a dance during the opening ceremony, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took their seats among hundreds of Invictus Games competitors
Meghan claps and laughs as she watches artists perform at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at Sydney Opera House
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take their seats at the Invictus Games opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House
Meghan and Harry lock eyes as they wait patiently for the lavish ceremony to begin at Sydney Opera House, where the Duke will address hundreds of people in a speech
Kate Ceberano and Ian Moss singing at the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Sydney, which was delayed by a thunderstorm
Athletes from the UK arrive at the Invictus Games opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House
Athletes from the UK wave and smile as they arrive at the Invictus Games opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House
Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove speaks during the opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House
Some 500 competitors and more than 1,000 of their friends and relatives gathered to watch the Invictus Games.
Harry told them during his speech: ‘A new generation – the Invictus generation – is defining what it means to serve. And we are all taking notice.
‘The Invictus generation has chosen to serve their countries in conflicts that are complex and dangerous and far too often this dedication goes unrecognised.
‘They have reminded us all what selfless duty really looks like.
‘With the help of medical science, the Invictus generation has not only survived injuries that in past conflicts would have been fatal, but has also chosen to fight back from the darkest of places to be here tonight. They have shown us the true meaning of resilience.
‘When they have been open about their hidden emotional and mental wounds, the Invictus generation has shown us that in today’s world being tough means being honest about how we feel – both inside and out.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surrounded by adoring fans at a reception ahead of the Invictus Games opening ceremony today
Meghan Markle dazzled at the Invictus Games reception ahead of the competition’s opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House
Competitors wait for the Invictus Games opening ceremony to begin at Sydney Opera House. It was delayed by an electrical storm
Ready to go: Competitors gather to watch Prince Harry make a speech to hundreds of people at Sydney Opera House during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Prince Harry practising his Invictus Ceremony opening ceremony speech in an empty Sydney Opera House in front of his wife Meghan
Prince Harry showcasing his military attire during the couple’s first engagement today, the Anzac Memorial service in Hyde Park, and with wife Meghan (right) at a special Invictus Games car competition
Harry and Meghan shake hands with competitors at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge in Sydney earlier today
Prince Harry presents a competitor with a medal at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge at the Invictus Games in Sydney earlier today
Meghan and Harry share a joke with competitors from Estonia at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, the couple’s second engagement of the day
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex applauding competitors earlier today at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge across Sydney Harbour on Cockatoo Island
The pair beam and applaud at their second engagement of the day ahead of the Invictus Games opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge at the Invictus Games in Sydney earlier today
Prince Harry and Meghan, who are on their official 16-day Autumn tour, opted for casual chic attire as they spectated the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge. They both wore matching branded Invictus Games Foundation polo shirts
Earlier today the Duke and Duchess attended the Anzac Memorial service in Hyde Park to pay tribute to Australia’s war dead and open a $40 million of the memorial. They were welcomed by an Australian Army marching band.
Prince Harry wore his Blues and Royals military uniform while Mehgan opted for a buttoned black midi dress nipped in at the waist.
The pair then swapped their formal attire for casual chic to take a boat across Sydney Harbour to Cockatoo Island for a special Invictus Games car challenge.
They took the private vessel from Admiralty House in Kirribilli where they have been staying a guest of Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
The royal couple, in their formal attire, at the Anzac Memorial service in Hyde Park earlier today where they paid tribute to Australia’s war dead in a moving ceremony
Meghan threw an elegant white white Altuzarra ‘Acacia’ blazer, worth about $AU2,371 over the top of her shirt, which was paired with matching ‘looker’ denim jeans from Los Angeles brand Mother.
The Duchess accessorised with Illesteva sunglasses, worth about $240, and completed the outfit with a pair of Tabitha Simmons ‘Millie’ heels, which retail for about $1,033. Harry wore grey trousers and brown boots.
The couple travelled to the island to watch the Invictus Games Jaguar Land Rover driving challenge, the first event of the Games hours before the evening’s opening ceremony.
Once on the island they were greeted by competitors in their racing uniforms, one athlete from Poland seated in a wheelchair as he chatted to Meghan.
Harry put an affectionate hand on his wife’s lower back as they walked along the Cockatoo Island jetty to greet the waiting drivers and their support staff.
Meghan Markle took a boat across Sydney Harbour to Cockatoo Island with Prince Harry to take in a special Invictus Games challenge car challenge.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took the private vessel from Admiralty House in Kirribilli where they have been staying a guest of Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove
The couple travelled to the island to watch the Invictus Games Jaguar Land Rover driving challenge
The boat carried the royal couple with a sizeable entourage, most of whom were also in Invictus clothing
Harry smiled as the couple walked towards the jetty hand-in-hand flanked by burly security guards watching over them
The couple changed out of the formal attire they wore to open an extension to the ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park on Saturday morning, opting for polo shirts emblazoned with the Invictus Games
Thunderstorms threatened to derail the opening ceremony today as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived to launch the contest.
Technical equipment was damaged following an electrical storm in Sydney, where Prince Harry is due to make a speech to hundreds of people.
‘I was a bit worried. Thankfully it looks like the sky is clearing now,’ Prince Harry told Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian as they made their way into Sydney Opera House for the ceremony.
Meghan smiled as the Premier told the couple: ‘There’s a lot of people looking forward to meeting you.’
Organisers took to Twitter to confirm the ceremony at Sydney Opera House would be delayed following the treacherous weather.
New South Wales is forecast to be hit by intense rain and thunder in the coming hours.
Meghan let her hair down and changed into a casual blazer and skinny jeans combination after her perfectly polished ensemble hours earlier
Meghan threw an elegant white blazer over the top of her shirt, which was paired with matching skinny jeans and tortoise shell sunglasses, while Harry wore grey trousers and brown boots
Meghan accessorised with Illesteva sunglasses, worth about $240, and completed the outfit with a pair of Tabitha Simmons ‘Millie’ heels, which retail for about $1,033. The whole outfit is worth almost $4,000
Harry put an affectionate hand on his wife’s lower back as they walked along the Cockatoo Island jetty to greet the waiting drivers and their support staff
Once on the island they were greeted by competitors in their racing uniforms ahead of the first medalled event of the Games
One athlete from Poland, a country competing at the games for the first time, seated in a wheelchair as he and his teammate chatted to Meghan
Harry looked in his element as he chatted to others outside the course on Cockatoo Island before the race began
Harry gives a rockstar thumbs up as he walks around Cockatoo Island hand-in-hand with Meghan
Meghan smiles as she watches the action during the car challenge final between Australia and France
Harry helps his wife off the boat as the pair return to Admiralty House after the race to get ready for the Invictus Games open ceremony at the Sydney Opera House
The loved-up couple continued to hold hands after Meghan was safely on to the jetty
Just before the opening ceremony, the couple will join Premier Berejiklian for a dinner reception at Bennelong Restaurant in the Sydney Opera House with legendary Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe
Look sharp in an Altuzarra blazer like Meghan
Altuzarra Acacia blazer in white
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From there they watched the cars go through their paces in preparation for the race to be held soon after, as dozens of others reached over barriers to snap photos of the action.
Australia went down to France with its team of retired sniper Craig McGrath, 45, who was hit by shrapnel in Afghanistan in 2012, and mine specialist Scott Reynolds, 39, who served in Iraq in 2003.
The competitors raced through three courses, the first getting them to quickly park in marked rectangles the exact size of the car.
Then they had to squeeze through posts sticking out of half a metre of water on a complicated track, and race through a course that was randomised with flashing lights.
The royal couple also took time out to play with remote control cars alongside children from different countries who travelled to the event with the athletes.
Harry appeared to have a barrel of fun driving the cars across the uneven grass off to one side of the course, laughing, smiling, and sometimes gesturing his arms in frustration.
The royal couple also took time out to play with remote control cars alongside children from different countries who travelled to the event with the athletes
The children looked both excited to be racing the cars with the prince, and wanting to beat him at the game
Harry appeared to have a barrel of fun driving the cars across the uneven grass off to one side of the course
He laughed and smiled but sometimes gestured his arms in frustration while Meghan chuckled beside him
Harry’s attempts at racing remote control cars against the children were a rollercoaster of emotion
Harry laughs as he runs to retrieve a remote control car that got into difficulty on the uneven grass
Harry offered Meghan a turn with the remote but she didn’t look particularly enthused about taking him up on it
Meghan looked on with amusement and smiled at the youngsters who were excited to meet the Duke and Duchess, even shaking hands with one as Harry gave him a pat on the head
The couple also presented the children with medals for their participation in the remote control car rally
Meghan looked on with amusement and smiled at the youngsters who were excited to meet the Duke and Duchess, even shaking hands with one as Harry gave him a pat on the head.
The competition turned serious as Harry competed against two boys, one from Australian and another from Holland in a race across a track strewn with rocks and other obstacles.
A chuckling prince enthusiastically pursued the boys’ cars with his own calling out ‘alright I’m coming, I’ll catch you,’ while sporting a giant grin.
The Prince was bested by 13-year-old Danyan Jones from Ballina in the NSW Northern Rivers whose father Jamie Tanner, 35, will represent Australia in the wheelchair tennis and rugby events.
Mr Tanner was a soldier in the Australian army who served in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan before he was medically discharged in 2016 with terrible injuries and PTSD.
Danyan bragged about his victory after defeating Harry, who mostly enjoyed himself but looked frustrated at time during the friendly race.
‘Harry was good at remote control cars, but I was better – obviously,’ Danyan said.
From there they watched the cars go through their paces in preparation for the race to be held soon after, as dozens of others reached over barriers to snap photos of the action.
One car was seen squeezing through posts sticking out of knee-high water on a complicated track that tested the wounded veteran drivers’ skill
Another part of the course on Cockatoo Island, with the gorgeous Sydney Harbour including the Bridge and Opera House as a backdrop
Competitors raced through the track in an attempt to win the first medals of the fourth edition of the Invictus Games
Danish athletes cheer on their teammates during the event, waving flags and shouting encouragement from the sidelines
Other athletes and spectators, a few supporting Georgia, applaud from the gallery as the race goes on
The Duchess posed with the silver medal-winning Australian team as they stand on the podium after the race
‘Meghan was funny. She was saying ‘I’ll have a go but I’ll crash it over the fence and put it in the water’ Harry took the controls and had a great sense of humour about it, too.’
Danyan recalled that another boy’s car knocked over both theirs and Harry’s, and the child, Aiden, six, only put his own car the right way up, prompting the Duke to joke ‘thanks for picking my car up, mate’, to much laughter.
The royal couple were a big draw card for Danlan and his siblings attending the Games, along with watching their father compete, according to mum Leesa Kiwok.
‘For months and months the kids have been saying will we get to meet them (Harry and Meghan) and we kept saying you’ll see them but you most probably won’t get to meet them,’ she laughed.
‘This is just extraordinary.’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were earlier greeted by adoring fans as they opened a $40 million extension of the war memorial at Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD in a surprise appearance
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex make their way down the war memorial steps during the ceremony alongside Governor Hurley and his wife Linda, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison following behind along with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (back right) and Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott (back left)
Earlier Harry and Meghan were greeted by adoring fans as they opened a $40 million extension of the war memorial at Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD in a surprise appearance.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at Hyde Park about 10am on Saturday with NSW Governor David Hurley, a former chief of the defence force, and were welcomed by an Australian Army marching band.
Harry rolled out his best ‘officer and a gentleman look’ in the tropical dress of his regiment, the Blues and Royals, with medals, KCVO and sword.
Meghan wore an elegant $AU2,927 black frock by New Zealand designer Emilia Wickstead, a choice that was seen by many as a nod to the ANZACs.
She also wore a pillbox style hat by Philip Treacy and paired it with a matching clutch bag.
They were joined by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott on an overcast Sydney morning.
Walking beside Harry as he arrived, and throughout the ceremony, was Governor Hurley, who was decked out in a similar white dress uniform to the prince’s, with his wife Linda in a blue dress and hat.
Harry and Meghan were treated to a traditional Welcome to Country, including a didgeridoo performance by two Aboriginal men painted in traditional body paint, and a performance by an indigenous dance troupe.
Harry rolled out his best ‘officer and a gentleman look’ alongside Meghan, wearing an elegant Emilia Wickstead dress and Philip Treacy hat
Meghan waves as he gets of of the car after the royal couple arrived at Hyde Park on Saturday morning
Prince Harry wore the tropical dress of his regiment, the Blues and Royals, with medals, KCVO and a sword
Aboriginal twins Krystal and Sienna Dawson presented the royal couple with a medallion and a painting during their visit.
The girls, aged nine, were from the Koomurri aboriginal dance troupe and both said they were nervous about meeting and performing for Harry and Meghan.
Krystal, who did an aboriginal art floral painting said: ‘They said hi and ‘nice to meet you’.’
The medallion, presented by Sienna, said ‘play the game’, the motto of the Beverly Hills public school which they attend.
‘I didn’t want to dance at first, but then it was fun,’ she said.
Their mother, Connie, said: ‘I think it was very overwhelming for them, as a parent. It was a very important ceremony and it’s important that the next generation coming through should be part of it.’
Harry pays his respects at the foot of the steps and unveils a commemorative plaque during the ceremony to open the war memorial extension
The couple laid a wreath in remembrance of fallen soldiers during the ceremony
Harry and Meghan sombrely carry the wreath together towards the foot of the steps before placing it on a stand
Harry and Meghan held the wreath together as they laid it at the foot of the steps near the fountain at the bottom
Harry salutes the newly-reopened memorial after laying the wreath, showing his respect for Britain’s staunch allies during World War I and following conflicts
The touching note left on the wreath by Meghan and Harry, expressing their gratitude to soldier who fell 100 years ago
Harry and Meghan bow their heads during a sombre part of the ceremony with the wreath they laid in the background
The Duke and Duchess were seated with Premier Berejiklian and Mr Morrison on their right and Governor and Ms Hurley on their left during the ceremony
Prince Harry shakes hands with Premier Berejiklian at the conclusion of the ceremony. The pair will cross paths again on Saturday night when she hosts the royals at a dinner reception at the Opera House
Prince Harry and fellow military man Governor Hurley share a moment as the Australian Army marching band plays
Harry and Meghan shake hands with Aboriginals painted in traditional body paint after they were treated to a traditional Welcome to Country, including a didgeridoo performance
Harry and Meghan then laid a wreath at the foot of the steps to honour Australian war dead, saluted the memorial, and unveiled a commemorative plaque.
Royalty fans had to hustle to the park after hearing of the couple’s involvement as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s attendance was kept secret until the last minute.
Spectators lucky enough to see the barricades and heavy police presence as they walked past got prime position before others heard about it on social media and flooded the streets.
‘I just bought a car and was driving it around when I noticed all the road blocks, so I thought I’d see what was going on. It was a big surprise,’ a man called Arthur told Daily Mail Australia.
The crowd was far less prepared than at previous appearances, lacking the signs and costumes of fans at Bondi Beach and the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Friday, which were advertised well in advance.
However, a cardboard cutout of Harry and Meghan watched on from a balcony overlooking the park as the royals arrived.
The couple received a tour of the new education and interpretation facilities and the Hall of Service where the new sculpture Sacrifice stands
Harry stares pensively across Hyde Park after his tour of the war memorial extension, alongside Meghan and Governor Hurley and his wife Linda (left)
Governor Hurley fills the royal couple in on the plan after they exchange greetings upon arrival at Hyde Park
Harry walks with NSW Governor David Hurley, a former chief of the defence force, with their wives chatting as they followed behind
Governor Hurley salutes Prince Harry as they meet on the street next to Hyde Park after the royals arrive
Jordan Ilencik travelled by train from Glenfield on his own on Saturday for a second meeting with the prince, a day after presenting him with a $250 replica tiara of one once worn by his mother Princess Diana.
‘I met him on the Harbour Bridge yesterday, and he said if I came today, I could meet Meghan,’ he said excitedly.
The 13-year-old brought with him a sign made of lipstick and a framed photograph of the pair together. He also had a letter to deliver to the Duke and Duchess containing photographs of the pair together.
He was joined by Adam Yassine, nine, who was coming back from a basketball game when he saw police horses standing guard.
‘I wanted to know what was happening, and now I want to meet Harry,’ he said. ‘I like him because he’s nice and he helps poor people.’
Mr Morrison clutches a war memorial pamphlet and a sprig of wattle as he attends the ceremony with the royals
He greeted other VIPs who assembled for the ceremony, a welcome distraction from Saturday’s potentially disastrous Wentworth byelection
Royalty fans had to hustle to the park on Saturday morning after hearing of the couple’s involvement as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘s attendance was kept secret until the last minute
Spectators lucky enough to see the barricades and heavy police presence as they walked past got prime position before others heard about it on social media and flooded the streets
A cardboard cutout of Harry and Meghan watched on from a balcony overlooking the park as the royals arrived
Jordan Ilencik, 13, (left) brought with him a sign made of lipstick and a framed photograph of the pair together from when they met after Harry climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Friday. He was there with his friend Adam Yassine, nine (right)
Harry salutes as he arrives at the memorial, paying his respects to Australians killed in World War I, 100 years after the end of the conflict
Prince Harry walks beside Governor Hurley with Meghan and Ms Hurley following behind, with army personnel bringing up the rear, as they enter the war memorial
Before the ceremony, the couple received a tour of the new education and interpretation facilities and the Hall of Service where the new sculpture Sacrifice stands.
The sculpture features more than 1,700 soil samples from each NSW town, suburb, and district given as a place of address by First World War enlistees in the region.
The extension includes a water cascade on the southern side. A walkway through the cascade allows Memorial visitors to enter the new Hall of Service, exhibition galleries and education facilities.
The Anzac Memorial Centenary Extension, as it is called, was opened this year as it is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
The Memorial, which commemorates the sacrifices made by those who served for Australia and New Zealand, was initially designed in the 1930s by Bruce Dellitt.
The Memorial, which commemorates the sacrifices made by those who served for Australia and New Zealand, was initially designed in the 1930s by Bruce Dellitt
The couple were welcomed by an Australian Army marching band who played the national anthem and other tunes
Prince Harry stands to attention as the army band plays in front of him and the public take photos from across the road
But following the Great Depression, the finances were not available to make Mr Dellitt’s vision a reality, including a four-tier cascading waterfall on the Liverpool Street side of the monument.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also attended the ceremony from a VIP seating area at top of the the steps by the fountain and pool of reflection.
Later in the evening, Prince Harry will open the Invictus Games at the opening ceremony in the Opera House forecourt, where his expected to make a speech.
Just before the opening ceremony, the couple will join Premier Berejiklian for a dinner reception at Bennelong Restaurant in the Sydney Opera House with legendary Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe.