Invictus Games

Prince Harry: Invictus Games Have 'Changed How We View Disability'

The Duke of Sussex was celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Invictus Games.

The Duke of Sussex has said his Invictus Games heroes have changed society's perception of disability and mental health as he celebrated the game's five-year anniversary.

Prince Harry said the wounded servicemen, women and veterans who have competed in the past four games have not only saved their own lives, but those of others they have inspired.

Hundreds of former Invictus Games athletes from across the globe, supporters of the games and senior backroom staff gathered in London to mark the milestone.

The duke told his guests: "I think, in the last five years, these guys have completely changed how we view disability, how we view mental health. This is all them.

"We've had some laughs, we've had some tears, and I can't ever thank you enough for the impact that you have had across the world, to be able to create better understanding for those people who put the uniform on."

Watch: Prince Harry officially opened the Invictus Games in Sydney

Harry was inspired to found the global tournament after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013 and seeing how injured American military personnel thrived on the challenge of taking part in competitive sports that aided their recovery.

He went on to stage the inaugural games in London's Olympic Park in 2014, followed by Orlando in 2016, Toronto in 2017 and Sydney in 2018, with The Hague chosen for the 2020 event.

Organisers have said that after 2020, Invictus will be staged every two years.

Prince Harry made his first public appearance with his then-girlfriend, now the Duchess of Sussex at the Toronto Games in 2017.

Looking back over the past five years, Harry joked about some of the changes, including the birth of children to some of those involved - including his own son Archie and two children born to 2014 competitor JJ Chalmers, a former Royal Marine who is now a sports broadcaster and who spoke before the duke.

"Wow, what a huge amount has happened in five years. Medals have been won, children have been born - not mine necessarily, but JJ's.

"The one thing that hasn't happened is limbs haven't grown back. But one thing I can assure you is that mental health has completely changed with every single one of these individuals."