After the excitement of the Invictus Games opening ceremony and the appearance of Meghan Markle at a tennis match on Monday, I was half expecting news coming out of the rest of the week’s events to die down and have been pleasantly surprised that it hasn’t. Harry has been greeted like a rockstar everywhere he’s gone, former U.S. President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden made a stop, and one toddler briefly became internet famous thanks to stealing Harry’s popcorn. Let’s get into it.
Let’s start with the week’s most adorable moment, which was most definitely when two-year-old Emily made a play for Harry’s snacks without him or her mother noticing:
Emily’s father has participated in the games since at least 2014 and the family is well-known to Harry, hence their seat next to him. I’m impressed by how long she got away with her subterfuge and Harry’s reaction when he finally caught her was hilarious.
Yesterday was the wheelchair basketball finale and Obama and Biden joined Harry court side to watch the game. Harry and Obama first met back in 2011 during the U.S. state visit to the UK. They’ve met multiple times since, both in London and Washington, D.C., including a high-profile visit last spring when Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama stopped by Kensington Palace to meet with Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (not to mention Prince George).
In May, after Obama left office, Harry met with him in London, a moment captured by the KP Twitter account:
The two men appear to have struck up a genuine friendship, which was on display at the game last night. From Rebecca English’s reporting:
“Financial analyst Jessica Stickle, 24, who also joined the pair on the front row, told DailyMail.com that she had no idea she would be seated alongside such a high-profile group. She said: ‘It was awesome. I had no idea I was going to be sat with them or that Barack Obama was coming. I just said to Barack “thank you so much for what you’ve done. I love you and my grandma loves Prince Harry.”
Prince Harry said, “It’s nice to meet you and thanks for being here.” They were both chatting to the two ladies next to me. I think they’re both nurses in Germany. Harry and Barack were laughing a lot with each other and seemed like best buds. They were cheering and Barack was giving the thumbs up so he seemed really happy with the result.'”
There was also a poignant moment on Thursday when Harry was able to meet with a World War II veteran who made it out, reminding me of the myriad engagements he and the rest of the Royal Family have done this year commemorating the War’s centennial milestones.
And a few other highlights from the week:
In the middle of all of this, Harry made a speech in honor of WE Day – you can read more about that initiative here. I’ll share a brief snippet of his speech that links to the Invictus Games, but you can read the full transcript here.
I want to make a deal with you. The hundreds of service men and women that have gathered here for the Invictus Games, they share your enthusiasm for service and duty. I want you to listen to their stories. If you see them around town, introduce yourselves, make some new friends, hear what they and their families have been through.
Hear how they have overcome incredible challenges, and let yourselves be inspired. If you do that, I promise you, that I will work to do everything I can to support you; to create a platform where your voices can be heard and your ideas taken seriously.
We’ll either cover off on the closing ceremony later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I’d tack on a brief update on non-Invictus news, such as that Harry is expected to make a two-day trip to Copenhagen on October 25-26. This trip was announced in late August by KP, but the location was confirmed this week. William and Kate are expected to make a similar trek in November, but the details have yet to be released.
Meanwhile back in London, William toured the Imperial War Museum on Thursday, including hearing about its plans for new galleries focused specifically on the Holocaust. Apparently it’s the first museum to physically represent the Holocaust within the context of World War II, which I find slightly extraordinary. During the engagement, William met with three WWII veterans, more detail on whom can be found here.
On Tuesday, William visited Milton Keyes and let slip that he had just finished dropping George off at school. Apparently the honeymoon is over and George is already tired of going, per William’s remarks last week.
Finally, in the middle of all of this, Kate released a statement of support on behalf of her patronages, SportsAid. As of now, she is still recovering from HG at KP, but it’s expected that she will join William and Harry at a reception at Buckingham Palace on October 10.