Prince Harry has rolled up his sleeves and got down to business in Toronto, throwing himself into the Invictus Games with gusto.
The prince was pictured on Sunday chatting to competitors and handing out medals to the winners on the first day of the acclaimed competition.
He sat in the crowd with the rest of the spectators to watch the athletics competitions and jumped down to the field later to congratulate the winners and runners-up.
While royal protocol typically frowns upon physical contact beyond handshaking, Harry ignored tradition and enthusiastically hugged many of the competitors in congratulations.
The Games are incredibly close to Harry’s heart, having founded them in 2014 after serving with the British Army in Afghanistan.
He gave a rousing speech at the Games’ Opening Ceremony on Saturday night where he recalled the exact moment he knew he had to do something for his wounded comrades.
“As I was waiting to board the plane, the coffin of a Danish soldier was loaded on by his friends. Once on the flight, I was confronted with three British soldiers, all in induced comas, with missing limbs, and wrapped in plastic. The way I viewed service and sacrifice changed forever. And the direction of my life changed with it,” he told the packed stadium.
“I knew that it was my responsibility to use the great platform that I have to help the world understand and be inspired by the spirit of those who wear the uniform.
“In a world where so many have reasons to feel cynical and apathetic, I wanted to find a way for veterans to be a beacon of light, and show us all that we have a role to play; that we all win when we respect our friends, neighbours, and communities.
“That’s why we created Invictus. Not only to help veterans recover from their physical and mental wounds; but also to inspire people to follow their example of resilience, optimism, and service in their own lives.”
Harry’s girlfriend Meghan Markle also attended the Opening Ceremony in Toronto. Although they chose to sit apart, it’s the first time the prince and his American love have attended a public event together.