Prince Harry’s Invictus Games celebrated its fifth anniversary this week and the royal took to Instagram to share some of his personal experiences of the event, including “one of the worst speeches” he had ever given in detail.
The Duke of Sussex, who is well versed in public speaking, explained that the speech took place at the opening ceremony of the first ever Invictus Games and said he was “shaking” and “nervous”.
His 2014 speech saw Prince Harry formally open the event, which is a sports tournament for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
In a video of the event, Prince Harry is seen standing in at a podium oddly placed in the middle of the audience before all the competitors.
Saying he was full of “nerves about everything”, Prince Harry said, “[I was nervous about] the whole planning, whether it was going to come together, whether people were going to turn up, whether we were going to fill seats.”
He also continued that he was worried about his speech, saying, “On the actual night, we had the lectern - or the podium - right in front of all of the competitors so I could see all of their faces. And they started chanting and I was so nervous, I was shaking.”
“I knew I had a certain window to be able to get my words out and we were also running behind [schedule],” he said, “It’s probably one of the worst speeches I’ve ever given.”
In the video, Harry's brother Prince William, father Prince Charles and stepmother Camilla Parker-Bowles are seen watching on as he speaks of how his “admiration... for these men and women to move beyond their injuries is limitless”.
At the time he does call out the decision to place the podium in the middle, quipping “whoever’s idea it was to put me here was... yeah.”
In the IGTV video that the official Sussex Royal Instagram account shared, Prince Harry also discusses his favourite moment at the games: when the UK defeated America in 2014 during wheelchair basketball and rugby.
He said, “On the Friday night, the penny dropped that we’d managed to create something special.”
Prince Harry created the Invictus Games after attending the 2013 Warrior Games, which introduces “wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to competitive sports” and is hosted by the US Department of Defence. Prince Harry also previously served in the army for ten years, taking part in two tours in Afghanistan and eventually being promoted to Captain.
He explained in his 2014 speech, “Through the Royal Foundation, I visited the Warrior Games in the United States. Seeing people who only months earlier had been told they would never walk again, and now winning medals in front of their families and friends was breathtaking. I knew that anyone would be inspired by what these men and women had achieved. Not just other servicemen and women, but all those adjusting to life post-injury.”
At yesterday’s reception to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Invictus Games, Prince Harry called its competitors “my heroes” and over 400 of them were in attendance alongside their families, donors and supporters.
To find out more about the Invictus Games and to donate to its foundation, you can head to its website here.