Prince Harry

Invictus Games has saved lives, Prince Harry says at closing ceremony

It brings to a close the fifth games, postponed twice from 2020 to 2022 due to COVID.

The Duke of Sussex has said many Invictus Games competitors would have taken their own life had it not been for the sporting event, which came to a close on Friday.

Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the challenge of competing in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.

The fifth games featured hundreds of athletes from 20 competing countries, postponed twice from 2020 to 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the closing ceremony in The Hague in the Netherlands, the Duke spoke of his pride in the competitors sitting before him.

Prince Harry told the audience: "You have all summited your mountain. And I could not be prouder of every single one of you.

"We, your friends and family, could not be prouder of who you are and what you represent, especially given what it's taken to get here. Mindset is everything."

Watch: The Hague reflects on hosting the Invictus Games.

He added: "From interviews that Invictus did across the park this week, and as some of you have shared with me personally, many would have taken their own life had it not been for these games.

"You made the choice to be here, to stay with us, to grow with us, and I can't explain how much it means to me and how much all of you mean to us. So thank you.

"This is a blueprint of what the wider world needs today – the power of resilience, the power of healing and the power of recovery.

"So if, or when, you feel alone, please know that you are not alone.

"This community is with you. We are all with you.

"To friends and family, we wouldn't be here without you.

"We thank you for sharing and shouldering the weight of our wounds, from vulnerability comes strength, and together all of us are defining the Invictus generation, in or out of uniform we stand up to injustice. We answer the call for help.

"We defend those that need defending. Service and sacrifice is in our blood and don't you ever forget it."

Prince Harry said he was "honoured" to have served alongside "all of you here tonight", adding: "Thank you for your service and we'll see you in Dusseldorf." In 2023, the Invictus Games will take place in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The closing ceremony came after Harry was joined by King Willem‑Alexander at the wheelchair basketball final.

Earlier, the Duke announced the Invictus Games will take place in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada, in 2025.

"Ladies and gentlemen, Invictus is heading back to North America and this is a very, very good thing," Harry said on Friday.