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Saturday, 20 October 2018

Harry shares his and Meghan's 'personal joy' of forthcoming parenthood at the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Sydney as he hails the strength of disabled athletes who make the event so worthwhile

  • Duke and Duchess of Sussex were welcomed to Bennelong Restaurant for the Invictus Games reception
  • They then took their seats to watch dazzling display of dancing and singing at the Sydney Opera House
  • Hours earlier Prince Harry was practising speech for opening ceremony with Meghan at the iconic venue
  • Earlier today Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended Hyde Park in Sydney CBD for Anzac Memorial service
  • Their second engagement was Invictus Games car challenge on Cockatoo Island across Sydney Harbour
The Duke of Sussex shared his 'personal joy' of soon becoming a father and hailed the 'Invictus family' as a symbol of strength, honour and optimism as he opened the competition in front of crowds of adoring fans today.
Prince Harry and Meghan, who wore a Stella McCartney dress and a coat by Gillian Anderson for Winser London, 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 from around the world filed into the iconic venue.
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 for the fourth Games at the empty venue.   
During the speech itself Harry said: 'First of all, thank you for the welcome you have given Meghan and I over the last few days.
'I have been so proud to be able to introduce my wife to you and we have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all.'  
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.Indigenous Australians dazzle hundreds of athletes with their dance performance at the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Indigenous Australians dazzle hundreds of athletes with their dance performance at the Invictus Games opening ceremonyIndigenous Australians carrying boomerangs perform during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Indigenous Australians carrying boomerangs perform during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Dancer put on a dazzling performance at Sydney Opera House as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex watched 
Dancer put on a dazzling performance at Sydney Opera House as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex watched 
Prince Harry whispers in Meghan's ear during the glittering opening ceremony in Sydney, attended by hundreds of athletes and their families
Prince Harry whispers in Meghan's ear during the glittering opening ceremony in Sydney, attended by hundreds of athletes and their families
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex watch the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games, which was delayed following an electrical storm in Sydney
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
'Strength, honour and optimism': Prince Harry praised the athletes taking part in the Invictus Games during his speechPrince Harry was loudly applauded throughout his speech to open the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014
Prince Harry addresses 500 athletes and their supporters at Sydney Opera House during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Prince Harry addresses 500 athletes and their supporters at Sydney Opera House during the Invictus Games 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
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
A musician plays during the opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex watch
Laura Wright performs on stage during the Invictus Games opening ceremonyA musician plays during the opening ceremony at Sydney Opera House while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex watchArtists performing a dance during the opening ceremony, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took their seats among hundreds of Invictus Games competitors

Laura Wright performs on stage during the Invictus Games opening ceremony
Prince Harry was loudly applauded throughout his speech to open the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014
Meghan claps and laughs as she watches artists perform at the opening ceremony
Some 500 competitors, taking part in 13 sports, and more than 1,000 of their friends and relatives gathered to watch the Invictus Games.   
Harry's speech continued: '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
The Prince added: 'Our Invictus family has become a symbol of strength, honour and optimism for a new generation.'
The Duke of Sussex told the crowds that the Invictus Games highlights how we should 'support our mates, serve our communities and to respect those closest to us and those whose stories we will never know'.
He continued: 'We have learned to reject pessimism and cynicism. We have allowed ourselves to be inspired. And we have shared in moments of hope, joy and triumph that have served as an antidote to the narrative of division and despair we too often allow to define our era.
'You are the unconquered generation. You are the optimistic generation. You are the role models to us all. And you are going to put on one hell of a show over the next week.' 
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. 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 as 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. 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 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.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.'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.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 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.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.'  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. 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. 

Invictus Games opening ceremony 2018: The Duke of Sussex's speech in full

'Hello Sydney. Hello Australia. And hello Invictus.
'On this day in 1973, my grandmother, The Queen, stood in front of this Opera House and declared it open.
'Forty-five years later, to the day, it is my honour to be standing in front of this iconic symbol of Australia's place in the modern world at the start of the fourth Invictus Games.
'I'm sure you'll all agree that these Games have never had a more beautiful backdrop.
'Many of you will have heard me explain the genesis of these Games before.
'From my life-changing flight back from the battlefields of Afghanistan, to the example of America's warrior games, Invictus was inspired by the experiences I had alongside our servicemen and women from many nations.
'These Games were created for our men and women in uniform; designed around their talents and their needs; and built not just for them, but also for the friends and families that have supported their recoveries and had their lives changed forever.
'Over the last four years though, the Invictus Games have become about much more than the thousands of competitors who have taken part.
'Invictus has become about the example of service and dedication our competitors have provided to the world.
'Our Invictus family has turned these games into a symbol of strength, honour and optimism for a new generation.
'In a few weeks time we will honour the memory of the generation that fought the First World War - including the sacrifices of the Anzacs whose ethos and heroic actions helped forge the character of this great country.
'So much has rightly been made of my grandmother's generation who endured the horrors of the Second World War and then rebuilt a world order around freedom and tolerance.
'The legendary bravery and resilience of the Aussie digger - to this day - commands respect and admiration.
'And the efforts of your soldiers to defend this nation and support your allies in theatres from the Kokoda Trail, Vietnam and Korea, to Iraq and Afghanistan, have been outstanding.
'The values that define this country's services - courage, endurance, mateship, sacrifice - are an example to all.
'But if we're being honest, we know that in many nations, the place of our men and women in uniform became too often undervalued in the decades after the Second World War.
'The sacrifice and character of our troops never changed, but society's recognition of them too often wavered.
'But that has changed.
'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.
'When they have taken to the tracks, fields and pools in London, Orlando, and Toronto, the Invictus generation has exemplified sportsmanship, bravery and world class athleticism.
'They have shown us all that the most difficult challenges can be overcome.
'When the families and friends of our competitors have lifted them up, overseen their recoveries, and cheered them across the finish lines, the Invictus generation has redefined what shared sacrifice means.
'They have reminded us all of our duties to each other - to support our mates, to serve our communities, and to respect those closest to us and those whose stories we will never know.
'And when all of us have watched the Games on TV or in the stands, we too have become part of the Invictus generation.
'We have learned to reject pessimism and cynicism. We have allowed ourselves to be inspired. And we have shared in moments of hope, joy, and triumph that have served as an antidote to the narrative of division and despair we too often allow to define our era.
'So when all of you compete over the next week, remember that you do so, not just for yourselves; not just for your families; not just for your nations.
'You are competing with different flags on your chest, but you are competing together for one Invictus generation.
'You are the unconquered generation. You are the optimistic generation. You are the new generation of service and you are the role models to us all.
'And you are going to put on one hell of a show over the next week.
'Now before I close, I want to say something directly to our hosts, the people of Australia.
'First of all, thank you for the welcome you have given Meghan and I over the last few days.
'I have been so proud to be able to introduce my wife to you and we have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all.
'But now I have a mission for all of you Aussies. And it's not how many shrimps you can put on the barbie! Our competitors have made it to these games, most of them travelling from many thousands of miles away.
'It's your job to cheer them on and share their stories. It's your privilege to watch in the stands or with your friends and families around the television. It's your responsibility to make sure your children know how amazing these guys and girls really are.
'Be inspired. Get excited. Allow the example of service and determination you will see, to change something big or small in your own lives.
'Show the world what Game On, Down Under really means.
'Australia - let's show the world how it's done.' 

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