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Duke and Duchess of Sussex give moving speeches at Invictus Games close

Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, applaud before handing out awards to the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 wheelchair basketball medallists at Quaycentre in Sydney, Australia October 27, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Duke and Duchess of Sussex give moving speeches at Invictus Games close

Duke and Duchess of Sussex give moving speeches at Invictus Games close

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry took the stage in Sydney to help wrap up the 2018 Invictus Games on Saturday.

The couple both addressed the crowd in Sydney, thanking the veterans and wounded service members whom the Paralympics-style competition honours for their strength and sense of humour.

The Duchess was the first to take the stage at the closing ceremony, sharing how much it meant to her to be a part of the Invictus family. It was just over a year ago, at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, that Meghan and Harry made their first official joint appearance together as a couple.

Wearing a fitted Antonio Berardi, sleeveless olive green tuxedo dress, the former Suits actress addressed an excited crowd.

Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein / WireImage

“In that short span of time, the Games have evolved into an international platform of some of the best athletics and sportsmanship you could ever witness, coupled with the comradery and close net sense of community, which can only be defined as the Invictus spirit,” the Duchess remarked. “With that said, and on a very personal note, I just wanted to thank all of you for welcoming me into the Invictus family. I am truly so grateful to be a part of this with each and every one of you.”

The mum-to-be also revealed that she has a special connection to the wounded and recovering service members and veterans who participate in the games.

“​I’m not sure if many of you know this, but a few years ago, before I had met my husband, I had the incredible honor of visiting troops deployed all over the world, from the U.K. to Italy and Afghanistan, and several other countries,” she recalled.

“I’ve been reminded of those memories here. During this year’s Games in Sydney I’ve witnessed the most amazing support networks that surround competitors, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting several of these family and friends.”

Prince Harry later took the stage to address the crowd, which included David Beckham. He thanked competitors at the Invictus Games for their part in turning the issue of mental health “from a sad story to an inspiring one”.

“The secret to the success of these Games has been accepting that mental health is the real key to recovery.”

The Duke of Sussex said the athletes taking part had fought back from “some of the darkest experiences known to anyone”.

“By simply being here and fighting back… you have become role models for everyone at home or in the stands who might be struggling with a mental illness.”

About 500 competitors from 18 nations took part in the games, which involve 11 adapted sports.

The royal couple will now make their way to New Zealand as they wrap up their 16-Day tour of the region which also included visits to Fiji and Tonga.

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