Invictus Games

Prince Harry jokes with Sandhurst PTI during surprise Invictus Games call

This year's Invictus Games will be held in The Hague in the Netherlands between 16 and 22 April.

 

The Duke of Sussex has made a surprise video call to Team UK Invictus Games competitors, including joking with one of his instructors from Sandhurst.

Prince Harry chatted with members of the team at the weekend, as competitors gathered for a final training camp before the next Invictus Games in the Netherlands later this month.

After being delayed by the pandemic, the tournament will take place in The Hague between 16 and 22 April, with BFBS covering the event.

The Invictus Games is an international multi-sport event launched in 2014 by the Duke of Sussex, with 300 competitors from 13 countries taking part in the inaugural competition in London.

The adaptive event is aimed at wounded, injured or sick Armed Forces personnel and veterans, and it takes its name from the Latin word 'Invictus'meaning 'unconquered' or 'undefeated'.

Team UK will compete in nine sports this month: athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.

During Prince Harry's call with the competitors, the room erupted in laughter when the Duke commented on the fact they had had two years to prepare for the games and that therefore fitness should not be an issue.

"You realise that no-one, not just you guys, no-one's got any excuses for not being fit now," he joked.

Watch: A winter bybrid option for future Invictus Games would breathe "fresh oxygen into the Invictus model", Forces News was told in 2021.

Harry also enquired about former royal Army physical training corps instructor Vic Wales, who was one of the instructing staff while he was a cadet at Sandhurst.

Ms Wales, 44, from Newcastle, is taking part in five events in The Hague – rowing, cycling, archery, powerlifting and athletics.

She broke her back in a training accident 11 years ago and was medically discharged.

"Is my PTI from Sandhurst in here somewhere?" Harry asked, before spotting her and exclaiming: "There she is."

He said: "I can't believe after, how many years, 15 years, our paths are about to cross again.

"You used to shout at me so much."

Harry appeared to be told that he needed it, as he then said: "I needed it. Yeah, cool. That's also fair enough."

Giving a team talk to the competitors, Harry said: "For a lot of you, you've already, as far as I'm concerned, you've already won gold by just getting to this point.

"The fact that you are sitting there now wearing that strip and you are able to wear the Union Jack on your arm again, that means so much to every single one of you."

Watch: Team UK captain Rachel Williamson marked her appointment as skipper with a tattoo in 2020, only for the Invictus Games to be postponed that year.

Team UK captain Rachel Williamson, a 33-year-old RAF veteran from Rutland, Leicestershire, told Harry on the call: "It’s been a very long journey to get here, but what an amazing team to do it with.

"We've came through ups and downs with the pandemic, and I know as soon as we all get there it will be just amazing to just look back at the team and see how far we've actually come. It will be really special."

Afterwards, she said: "The call was such a surprise but it was amazing to see Prince Harry again.

"I absolutely loved it, it was like speaking to another member of the Invictus family.

"He just says the right stuff. The main thing he said was 'yes, you lost your uniform but now you get to wear this brand new uniform again' and that hits all of us so deep.

"We know that he understands where we're coming from and where we've been."