That's a wrap — on the Invictus Games and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's time down under. The couple kicked off Day 12 pretty quietly, enjoying a rare morning off but that's due to the jam-packed evening they had ahead of them with the closing ceremony. Harry, of course, will have several things to say in his speech but Meghan is also set to speak, showing her appreciation to all the supportive friends and families of the athletes. Their first duty of the day was the closing ceremony rehearsals and Meghan snapped a pic of her husband on stage, going over his speech. Not as adorable as the one taken of the two of them a week ago but a preicous moment nonetheless.
Getting ready for tonight’s @InvictusSydney closing ceremony, where we will celebrate the #InvictusGames competitors, and their friends and families. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will both speak at the ceremony this evening. #IG2018— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 27, 2018
📷 The Duchess of Sussex pic.twitter.com/XAck2r3wf4
The couple's first scheduled appearance was at the wheelchair basketball final. They tried to sneak into the stadium's back row, behind the war heroes, but the stadium broke out in applause as word got out that they had arrived.
Meghan looked casual-chic, hair half-up in a bun, in black Outland jeans and a burgundy peplum wrap top by Australian label Scanlan Theodore. Harry wore one of his favourite tops, an Invictus Games polo, and they each sported British Legion poppies. Both Harry and Meghan had reasons to celebrate as the U.S. won gold, the Netherlands earned silver and in an earlier deciding game, the U.K. beat New Zealand to take home the bronze.
Touching moments as Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex present #InvictusGames medals at the #WheelchairBasketball Finals for @InvictusSydney! #IG2018 #GameOnDownUnder pic.twitter.com/LwI7K3nDJB— Invictus Games Foundation (@WeAreInvictus) October 27, 2018
It seems like so long ago but it was only at last year's Invictus Games that Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance together. What a difference a year makes!
For the closing ceremony, Meghan wore an olive-green Antonio Berardi tuxedo dress, while Harry wore a suit with no tie.
The Duchess of Sussex took to the stage and spoke for nearly five minutes, thanking those in the room for welcoming her into the Invictus family, that prior to meeting Harry, she had visited military bases around the world and met with troops but, most importantly, how "that anchor of support from loved ones, especially given how much it accelerates recovery and rehabilitation, is immeasurable."
"On a very personal note, I just wanted to thank all of you for welcoming me into the @WeAreInvictus family. I am truly so grateful to be a part of this with each and every one of you."— Omid Scobie (@scobie) October 27, 2018
- The Duchess of Sussex pic.twitter.com/AAqzs4pLbZ
Then it was Harry's turn, and he greeted the crowd with a simple, "Hi, guys." After thanking the people who help put on the Games and the city of Sydney for being an amazing host to the Games, he went on to laud the athletes, not as magical superheroes but, rather, as "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."
But it was when the Duke of Sussex brought up the importance of mental health that his speech really got going. "It is OK to talk about how we feel. To girls and boys who see you speaking openly about anxiety, stress and depression, you are showing it is OK not to be OK," he addressed the athletes. "And most importantly, you are showing us all that it's OK to ask for help. Asking for help is courageous. In the moment you admit that you are struggling, you take that step towards a better future." He continued: "I hope you have seen that our mental fitness is even more important than our physical fitness because without it we cannot survive, let alone thrive."
“When we saw Paul Guest and— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 27, 2018
Edwin Vermetten support each other through Paul’s struggle with Post Traumatic Stress on the tennis court infront of a large audience, we saw what mateship really looks like.” — The Duke of Sussex #IG2018 pic.twitter.com/XfXy55k0co
Harry added: "The secret of these Invictus Games is not really about the amazing medical science that has saved the lives of our competitors and helped many of them to walk, swim and move again. The secret to the success of these Games is accepting that mental health is the real key to recovery. Our competitors have helped turn the issue of mental health from a sad story to an inspiring one. They want to live rather than just be alive."
“When 67-year former military nurse Cavell Simmonds decided age was just a number and entered into five sports at her first Invictus Games, you know what being optimistic in life really means.” — The Duke of Sussex #IG2018 pic.twitter.com/QGJ5U4gxGR— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 27, 2018
We can't wait until 2020, when the next Invictus Games will take place, this time in the Netherlands. As for Harry and Meghan,they fly out of Sydney tomorrow and head to Wellington, New Zealand for the final leg of their Oceania tour.
It’s time we started talking openly about our mental health. Join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 30, and help end the stigma around mental illness. For every text message (not iMessage) sent and mobile or long-distance call made by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives. The same goes for anyone sending a tweet using #BellLetsTalk, watching the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, or using the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. But talking about it is just the first step: Visit letstalk.bell.ca for more ways you can effect change and build awareness around mental health.
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