Prince Harry Encourages Invictus Games Participants to Reach ‘out to Other People’ After Event Gets Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Originally scheduled to take place at The Hague, the Netherlands in May, the 2020 Invictus Games have been postponed to 2021. They are now among the many concert tours, movie premieres, and sporting events that have been put on hold or canceled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

The Invictus Games were scheduled to take place May 9-16, 2020, and would have been the fifth Invictus Games since the event’s 2014 debut in London, England. 

What are the Invictus Games? 

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex based the Invictus Games on the Warrior Games, an adapted sports competition for those who were wounded serving in the U.S. military, which he attended in 2013. 

Harry, who served in the military himself, got inspired to create something similar. In 2014, he launched the Invictus Games Foundation and his own adapted sports competition.

Prince Harry plays sitting volley ball on March 6, 2014, at the media launch for the 2014 Invictus Games
Prince Harry plays sitting volley ball on March 6, 2014, at the media launch for the 2014 Invictus Games | Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games

An international competition, each Invictus Games event has brought together approximately 500 athletes from a total of 19 nations, according to the foundation’s website

Following the inaugural Games, the 2016 Games were held in Orlando, Fla., followed by Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 2017, where Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Harry made their first public appearance as a couple. The most recent Invictus Games were held in Sydney, Australia, in 2018.

Organization announced 2020 Games were postponed on March 19

Not even two months before the 2020 Invictus Games were scheduled to take place, the Invictus Games Foundation released a statement on their website announcing they had been “forced to conclude” the 2020 Games due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the U.K. team trials for the 2018 Invictus Games on April 8, 2018
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the U.K. team trials for the 2018 Invictus Games on April 8, 2018 | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The organization is now “investigating all options” to have the Games rescheduled for May or June 2021 “subject to the availability of key facilities and resources.”

Prince Harry shared a personal message with Invictus Games competitors

Following the announcement that the 2020 Invictus Games were postponed to 2021, the Duke of Sussex shared a short but heartfelt video message on the Games’ 2020 Twitter account.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for all of us to have to make,” he said in the clip. Harry continued, urging competitors and everyone involved with the Invictus Games to turn to each other, and their communities, for support.

“Do what you do best, which is reaching out to other people—be it those who still wear the uniform, those that used to wear the uniform, or just those people in your community who may be suffering or may be vulnerable during this period.”

In early March 2020, there had already been talk the 2020 Invictus Games might not happen because of COVID-19. A source reportedly told British tabloid, The Sun, the outbreak had thrown plans for the Games into “chaos.”

At the time, COVID-19 had not yet become a pandemic but, according to the source, growing concerns about safety had created “real worry,” and not to mention, a “logistical nightmare,” for those organizing the 2020 Invictus Games.

While the situation surrounding the pandemic continues to evolve rapidly, Harry and Meghan remain at their Canadian residence reportedly taking strict precautions to keep their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, from getting COVID-19.