Harry joins Team UK fans in Invictus murderball showdown with Team US

·4-min read
The Duke of Sussex attends the final of the Wheelchair Rugby between Team UK and the US (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Sussex attends the final of the Wheelchair Rugby between Team UK and the US (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

The Duke of Sussex appeared to show loyalty to his home country at a showdown between the United Kingdom and United States in a final in the Invictus Games.

Harry sat in the same section as Team UK supporters as their wheelchair rugby team faced the US in the murderball decider in The Hague – with the US finishing as the victors.

The clash came after Harry said “home” for him was now the US during an interview with an American TV network.

Harry, who applauded when both teams scored, sat in a section of the sports hall which was packed with Team UK fans, many of whom were wrapped in Union flags.

The Duke of Sussex hugs a Team USA player (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Sussex hugs a Team USA player (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

The supporters chanted “UK all the way, say UK all the way” and “Let’s go UK, let’s go”.

Sitting closest to him were staff and partners of Travalyst, including its CEO Sally Davey.

The non-profit organisation Travalyst was co-founded by the duke and brands Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa to encourage the tourism industry to become more sustainable and make eco-choices simpler for travellers.

Harry took his phone out of his pocket before the match started to capture the build-up scenes and atmosphere on camera.

He moved his phone around the crowd as they waved flags in the Invictus yellow and black colours, and also appeared to film when supporters were encouraged to hold their phones high with lights on.

The Duke of Sussex presented medals to competitors (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Sussex presented medals to competitors (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Harry presented gold medals to the Americans, silver medals to the UK team and bronze medals to the Australians.

Speaking after the medal ceremony, Team UK vice captain and player Kelly Leonard said it did not matter what position they finished in and said she would not change how it went.

The 44-year-old, who lives near Telford, said the roughness of the game is “the best bit”.

Ms Leonard’s foot came off in a road traffic accident and even though it was put back on, she does not have an ankle joint.

She said she felt like a bit of a fraud when she first started wheelchair rugby due to the fact she can walk.

“I was never disabled enough, I thought, to play disabled sports, but I’m not able enough to play full ability sports, so I kind of fell in the cracks,” she said.

Harry said the US was now his home (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Harry said the US was now his home (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Asked what she would say to people who might be in that scenario, Ms Leonard told the PA news agency: “I’m just a yes person. I’ve become a yes person. If there’s something you want to do, you’ve got to go and find a way to do it.

“Because if you don’t, life will pass you by, and then you’ll be like ‘Aw, I should have tried this’.

“Just keep saying yes to things and have a go. If it doesn’t work out, tweak it and try it again.”

Harry and wife Meghan have established a new life for themselves in the celebrity enclave of Montecito in California, buying a multimillion-pound home and launching a non-profit foundation.

The Sussexes have also signed lucrative deals – thought to be worth well over £100 million – with Spotify and Netflix that have given them the capital to pursue their new lifestyle and public goals.

A camera crew filming for a Netflix documentary called Heart Of Invictus – a series from Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions following people competing at the event – has been seen close to the couple at the games.

The Duke of Sussex (front centre) films the crowd (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Sussex (front centre) films the crowd (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

In an interview with NBC’s Today show, broadcast on Wednesday, Harry said: “Home for me now is, you know, for the time being, it’s in the States and it feels that way as well.

“We’ve been welcomed with open arms and got such a great community up in Santa Barbara.”

Asked if he feels that is “home more for you”, he said: “Yep.”

There has been speculation whether Harry will make a balcony appearance with the Queen during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

When asked about returning to the UK for the event with the Queen, he replied: “I don’t know yet, there’s lots of things – security issues and everything else.

The Duke of Sussex (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Sussex (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

“So this is what I’m trying to do, trying to make it possible that, you know, I can get my kids to meet her.”

Harry is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the same degree of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

The duke wants to bring his children to visit but he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because it is too dangerous, his legal representative has said.

Harry and Meghan had tea with the Queen last week when they stopped off in the UK on their way to the games in Holland.

Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, has said the idea that Harry is unable to come to the UK due to safety concerns is “sheer unadulterated nonsense”.

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