Monday, 28 Sep 2020

Prince Harry heartbreak: Duke opens up on need to have ‘handful of people to reach out to’

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Prince Harry made a surprise appearance in a video chat between British and Australian members of the Invictus Games community. Speaking from his new home in Santa Barbara, California, the Duke of Sussex heard how these athletes continue to challenge themselves despite the lockdown still in place in most corners of the globe. 

In a 10-minute video, Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers as well as athletes Bruno Guevremont, Mark Reidy and Jen Warren described how they joined the virtual At Home Superhero Tri, which saw members of their community taking on different stages of triathlon while remaining at their homes.

Praising the importance of the Invictus online community that has continued to get bigger over the years, Prince Harry discussed the importance of having someone to keep in touch with during hard times.

As Mr Chalmers outlined how they were trying to create a long-lasting sense of community and maintain alive every day the spirit of the yearly week-long Invictus Games, Prince Harry said: “I was going to say, it’s so important to know that if you’re going to have a bad day, if you’ve had a bad week, or you’ve experienced more trauma or another loss, or more stress in your life that you’ve got at your fingertips, whether it’s a WhatsApp group, whether it’s an online support group or whatever it is, or whether it’s just the Invictus community, you’ve always got one, well not even one, you’ve got at least a handful of people that you can reach out to. 

“Some of you may never need it again, but arguably all of us want to have or feel the comfort to know that we’ve got it in case we need it.

“I think more than anything else that we touch upon as well, you’ve got the banter there.

“And you know that if you haven’t heard from someone for a while, the first thing you need to do is check on them.  

“Just because your life is sort of on track and everything’s going according to plan, there’s other people you may not have heard of.

“You might just get the answer of ‘Yeah, I’m fine’.

“But you guys are the ones that are going to dig a little bit deeper and say ‘fine is not the answer that I was looking for.

“‘I’m actually asking how you are’.

“And it is stressful. The injuries you guys have sustained anyway is one part of it but then how everybody’s being forced to live now, it’s really, really different.” 

The 2020 editions of the Invictus Games, set to take place at The Hague in May, has been postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Prince Harry, who launched the Invictus Games in 2014, also touched upon how challenging each other could do wonder during the lockdown not just for the physical form but also in regards to mental wellbeing.  

He said: “With lockdown and everything else that’s been going on and The Hague being postponed as well, surely this was an amazing opportunity for you guys to come together not only to do the physical side, which is improving your mental fitness, but to be together as a team doing something like this, and having a goal and a purpose and to some extent a distraction from the day to day life.”

The close-knit community created by Prince Harry’s games and relaxed environment were put in full display at the beginning of the call, when the Duke took Mr Guevremont, Mr Reidy and Ms Warren by surprisingly logging in. 

Mr Chalmers introduced Harry saying: “I tried to book Captain America, but I managed to get Captain Wales instead.”

The Duke quickly quipped back: The banter certainly hasn’t improved in the last few months, that’s for sure.”

This call is the first known appearance of the Duke from his and Meghan’s new £11.1million mansion.  

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