Prince Harry’s 2020 Invictus Games Might Not Happen Because of COVID-19

Whether or not the 2020 Invictus Games will happen is reportedly uncertain amid concerns of COVID-19.  

The coronavirus disease, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, has since spread causing many events to be canceled or rescheduled. The K-Pop boy band, BTS, already canceled their concerts in Seoul, South Korea, for April 2020. As a result of COVID-19 spreading, organizers of the Invictus Games are worried about how it will impact the week-long event, according to the British tabloid, The Sun

When and where will the 2020 Invictus Games be held?

The sports competition for wounded war veterans founded by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, as part of the Invictus Games Foundation, is scheduled to take place May 9-16, 2020, in the host location of The Hague, The Netherlands. It will be the fifth Invictus Games since the event’s 2014 debut in London, England. 

Feb. 2020 saw first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Holland

Reportedly, organizers of the 2020 Invictus Games are especially concerned following Holland’s first case of COVID-19 being confirmed on Feb. 27, 2020.

How many people will be at the 2020 Invictus Games? 

According to the foundation’s website, 500 athletes from a total of 19 nations are set to compete in a variety of adaptive sports. However, that doesn’t include everyone else who will show up for the high-profile event. Thousands of fans are expected to attend, as well as media and those who are working the games.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex at the 2016 Invictus Games closing ceremony on May 12, 2016
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex at the 2016 Invictus Games closing ceremony on May 12, 2016 | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Invictus Games

There’s also the possibility Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, could make an appearance. Maybe even with their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, in tow.

The Invictus Games hold a special meaning for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It’s where they made their first public appearance as a couple in 2017 when they attended the third Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where Meghan lived at the time. 

Source says COVID-19 has made planning Invictus Games a ‘logistical nightmare’ 

Multiple sources told The Sun the outbreak of COVID-19 has thrown plans for the 2020 Invictus Games into “chaos.”

“There is a huge amount of concern and a lot of attention is being paid to how Holland deals with the virus and whether it spreads,” one source said. 

Another source said there’s been talk if COVID-19 were to become worldwide, what would that mean for the 2020 Invictus Games. Canceling may become a reality if the disease spreads. 

“There is concern many will be forced to stay at home — particularly if the situation does develop into a pandemic,” they told the publication. 

The source continued, saying it hasn’t made the lead-up to the games easy. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex cheering on sailers during the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 on Oct. 21,  2018, in Sydney, Australia
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex cheering on sailers during the 2018 Invictus Games on Oct. 21, 2018, in Sydney, Australia | Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

“Organizers are also worried about the dangers in the current climate of putting so many disabled athletes together in one place from different countries for a week,” they added before saying, “It is a logistical nightmare and a real worry for the people planning it.”

It’s important to note these comments haven’t been confirmed by Prince Harry or anyone inside the Invictus Games Foundation. They’re likely waiting to see how COVID-19 plays out over the coming weeks and months before making the major decision to cancel the 2020 games.

According to the foundation’s social media accounts, it seems to be business as usual. Their latest Instagram post at the time of publication featured the Duke of Sussex alongside Jon Bon Jovi promoting the re-recording of the musician’s 2019 song, “Unbroken,” at the famous Abbey Road Studios to benefit the Invictus Games Foundation. The song itself is said to be inspired by Princess Diana, the duke’s late mother. 

For now, the 2020 Invictus Games will continue as planned in May. Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will return to the U.K. for their final official engagements before their time as senior royals ends and they start their new lives on April 1, 2020.