Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the UK team trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AFP/Getty
Prince Harry took a break during his honeymoon to announce that the next Invictus Games for sick and injured military service men and women will be in The Hague, Netherlands, in 2020 and will be held every two years for the foreseeable future.
"I am delighted to announce that The Hague is taking up the challenge of hosting the fifth Invictus Games in 2020," the newly married Duke of Sussex tweeted from the Kensington Palace account. "The city will become the motivation for hundreds of servicemen and women using the Invictus Games to inspire their recovery from physical and mental injuries."
"We have already seen in London, Orlando, and Toronto just how exciting hosting the #InvictusGames can be, and I know this will be an incredible experience for everyone in The Hague as they embrace the Invictus spirit in 2020."
"The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for “unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women," the IG website explains. "They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus."
Harry and Meghan Markle at the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath in April Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage
The beautiful city of The Hague on the North Sea coast of the Netherlands is the seat of the Dutch parliament, and of the 16th-century Noordeinde Palace, where the king works. The city is also home to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.
"2020 is an important milestone for The Netherlands, marking 75 years since liberation," explained Lt. General (ret) Mart de Kruif, Chairman of @InvictusGamesNL. "It provides the perfect opportunity for us to link the past to the present.”
"The Netherlands has supported the Games from the very beginning, and I know that everyone there will fully get behind and support soldiers and veterans who have served their countries so bravely," Prince Harry added. "Post-war, the Hague has undergone its own process of rebuilding and rehabilitation, a theme many of those competing can intimately relate to."
Paul Guest, #6 of Team United Kingdom, during a game against Team Netherlands in a semi-final of Wheelchair Basketball during the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
The city was selected via a competitive international bidding process that according to Sir Keith Mills, the Invictus Games Foundation chairman, "exemplified the Invictus spirit."
"The next chapter of the Invictus Games story will continue in The Hague in 2020!" reads the official statement from Kensington Palace. "The Invictus Games will bring together over 500 competitors from 19 nations to compete in a series of adaptive sports."
Anthony McDaniel of the United States celebrates with teammates after defeating Team Netherlands in the Wheelchair Basketball Final Gold match in Toronto Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
The Invictus Games, founded by Prince Harry, is the only international, adaptive, multi-sport event in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball and indoor rowing. and originally was to be a one-time event.
The Invictus Games Foundation goal is to "use the power of sports to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation for our Wounded Warriors."
“When we started in London, it was a one-off event meeting immediate need,” Dominic Reid, chief executive of the Invictus Games Foundation, told the Telegraph. “What we’ve see is the appetite and the positive effect on people’s lives, and a real demand for the games to continue."
Since the first 2014 Games in London, they have been held in Orlando, Florida, in 2016 and Toronto in 2017. This year, the Invictus Games 2018 will take place in Sydney from October 20 to 27
The Invictus Games hold a special meaning for the newly-married Duke and Duchess of Sussex because they chose to make their romance public in Toronto at last year’s games when they appeared for the first time together. Hand-in-hand, they attended the opening and closing ceremonies and watched the wheelchair tennis matches.
Prince Harry and Markle are now likely to take a trip to the Netherlands for an official launch in the summer before going to Sydney in October for the next games.