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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will cross the Atlantic for The Hague despite refusing to join Harry’s family at Westminster Abbey for his late grandfather’s remembrance service just two weeks ago.
This evening, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed that Meghan will join her husband at the Invictus Games, which is set to begin this weekend, for the first few days.
After being delayed by the pandemic, the next staging of the games, an international sports competition for injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, will take place from April 16 to 22.
It comes as earlier today, Team UK competitors said they would like to see Meghan, and the couple’s children, two-year-old Archie and nine-month-old Lili, at the Games.
Despite royal insiders slamming the move in the wake of Harry’s high court battle over his family’s security, the pair will be joined by a Netflix documentary crew for the six-day event, according to the Mirror.
Meghan could even join Harry on stage at the opening ceremony of the games, with one source suggested there would be a ‘a big surprise to launch the event’.
They continued: ‘Meghan is excited to travel with Harry for the event, which is certainly close to his heart.’
Harry and Meghan are expected to arrive in the Netherlands on Friday after travelling from their £11m Montecito mansion in California.
Meghan Markle will join Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands this week ‘for the first few days’ – marking her first trip outside of the United States since quitting the royal family
Pictured: Meghan made her first appearance at an official engagement attended by Harry on September 24 2017 when she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Toronto, Canada
The Duke of Sussex and Meghan will cross the Atlantic for The Hague shortly after refusing to be with Harry’s family at Westminster Abbey for his grandfather’s service of thanksgiving less than two weeks ago
Pictured: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended the UK Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath Sports Training Village on April 6, 2018
The couple were pictured previously at the Wheelchair Basketball Final at the Invictus Games during their tour of Australia
The couple were pictured back in October 2018 on day two of the Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia
Earlier today Team UK competitors said they would like to see Meghan, and the couple’s children, two-year-old Archie and nine-month-old Lili, at the Games
Despite royal insiders slamming the move in the wake of Harry’s high court battle over his family’s security, the pair will be joined by a Netflix documentary crew for the six-day event. Pictured: Prince Harry speaks with Team UK before they depart for the 2022 Invictus Games
The decision for Harry to miss Prince Philip’s memorial service, particularly one which honoured his much-loved grandfather, is likely to add further tension to the strained relationship with his family
Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions first announced its Heart of Invictus Netflix docu-series last April.
Their official website describes the project as ‘a multi-episode production that will spotlight a group of extraordinary Invictus Games competitors from around the globe – members of the military community who have experienced life-changing injuries or illnesses – on their road to Invictus Games.’
The High Court heard the duke did not feel safe in Britain without Scotland Yard officers with him. Harry wants to bring his children to visit from the US, but is ‘unable to return to his home’ because it is too dangerous, a legal representative previously said.
But he still plans to jet more than 5,500 miles across the world to The Hague.
Police and security services in the Netherlands have refused to say whether he will get royal protection in Holland, although it is likely because one of the event’s partners is the Dutch ministry of defence, which is also in charge of the country’s security and terrorism.
Harry is set to travel to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games and used a surprise video call to the UK team
The Duke of Sussex also joked recently he was learning Dutch and wore orange – the national colour of the Netherlands
Former Met Inspector Ken Wharfe, who was protection officer for Princess Diana, Prince William and Harry, questioned why the royal would feel any safer in the Netherlands than the UK.
He told MailOnline last week: ‘[Harry] would have travelled to his grandfather’s memorial service with his brother or father and received protection from the Met. It’s not like he would have been turning up at Westminster Abbey on a bike’.
He added: ‘The Dutch police will be doing their own security assessments and liaising with Harry’s private security.
‘But my view it is more of a risk to go to Holland to support a charity with a military link than coming to London last week’.
The Invictus Games was where the couple chose to make their first public appearance together almost five years ago.
Meghan made her first appearance at an official engagement attended by Harry on September 24 2017 when she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Toronto, Canada, although the pair sat about 18 seats apart.
The following day, the pair emerged hand in hand to make their first official public appearance together at the wheelchair tennis.
Daniel O’Connor, 31, from Hereford, is competing in archery and indoor rowing, and said Harry is ‘someone who cares a lot’.
The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee are in charge of protecting the Dutch royal family and visiting dignitaries. The Dutch force declined to comment on whether they would be protecting Harry when approached by MailOnline
Meghan parts ways with Mayhew: British animal charity announces royal’s patronage has ended one year after Megxit
Meghan Markle has announced the end of her patronage with her favourite animal charity Mayhew – just one year after Megxit.
The Duchess of Sussex, 40, who is currently living in their $14million mansion in Montecito having stepped back from royal duty last year, had been patron of the organisation since 2019.
In a statement posted on social media today, the charity said it had been a ‘busy and productive three years together where we have gained so much of her kind support…[Meghan] you’ll always be part of the Mayhew family.’
Meanwhile in an open letter shared by the charity, the Duchess wrote: ‘The emotional support of a rescue animal is unparalleled – as you’ll soon realize; it is not you who saves them, it is they who save you.’
Meghan remained in the position even after stepping down as a senior royal because it is one she held in a private capacity, rather than was given by the Queen.
Meghan also remains Patron of Smart Works. She had to give up her royal patronages of the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities as part of the Megxit agreement.
It comes as the Duke and Duchess released a statement on their website urging fans to support a host of American women’s causes through their Archewell website.
In a statement released by Mayhew today, the Duchess wrote: ‘Though my time as a patron of Mayhew has come to a close, my unwavering support has not. I encourage each of you to support in whatever way you are able.
In a longer open letter posted to the Mayhew website, Meghan explained how she had been introduced to the charity by a friend Oli Juste, who passed away earlier this year.
She wrote: ‘On January 15, 2022, my beloved friend Oli tragically and very suddenly passed away. It has left me, and so many others, heartbroken and reflective—knowing that the legacy he leaves for our furry friends is beautifully simple: just love them.’
Meghan, an advocate of adopting rescue dogs, chose animal welfare charity Mayhew as one of her first patronages in 2019.
Mr O’Connor, who suffers from chronic pain, said: ‘He has in his mind the things he wants to achieve in his life, the things he’d like to see change, and he tries to work towards them.
‘And if everyone had that attitude you can imagine how different the world would be.’
Asked if he would like to see Meghan at the event, Mr O’Connor said: ‘I think everyone in the Games, all the competitors, are bringing friends and family, and I think if we have the right to bring friends and family then surely Prince Harry does.’
He said anyone who wants to support the Invictus Games is welcome with open arms, adding that Meghan has been to previous Invictus events.
‘So she has shown a continued support of the Games.
‘I think she’s doing a great job,’ he said, adding: ‘I would love to see her at the Games.
‘If she is, great, and I hope they bring the kids as well so they’ve got the whole family there.’
Lucy Holt, 29, from Lincoln, said it would be ‘a nice surprise’ if the family turned up.
Ms Holt, who is competing in powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair basketball and athletics, said Harry’s family are very supportive of the Invictus Games.
‘I think it’s a great way to kind of highlight to his family what he has achieved and what he is still achieving,’ she said.
Ms Holt said the Games are great for children to see as they showcase what can be achieved with disabilities.
Jason Finlay, 50, who lives in Amesbury, said he found Harry ‘very relaxing’ to talk to on the couple of times they met.
Mr Finlay, who is competing in sitting volleyball and athletics, said: ‘It was great to meet him, to be honest.
‘You can see the military ethos that he has through his military service.’
He said it would be nice to meet Meghan, adding she would be a good ambassador for Invictus.
Mr Finlay, who left the Army in 2005 on a medical discharge, has had several operations on his legs, has struggled with his back, and has suffered from depression.
He said that he felt “a little bit lost”, and looking back on one of his first training sessions, he added: “I remember just sitting next to a stranger and we talked at such depth, not only about my physical but mental problems, and them the same.
“And it just felt, it felt natural and normal to be back in that military environment and even though I didn’t miss the military when I left, I missed my comrades – the ability that I could sit next to anyone and trust them, I could open up at a deeper level than I would with most of my civilian friends to be honest, and the process has just made it so much easier.”
Mr Finlay added: “It’s been an amazing journey up until this point and beyond.”
Charity Help for Heroes is responsible for the selection, training and welfare of UK competitors.
A couple of weekends ago, Team UK’s friends and family cheered them on from the sidelines at the training camp, supported by the Royal British Legion.
Team UK will compete in nine sports at the Invictus Games: athletics, archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, powerlifting, indoor rowing, wheelchair rugby, swimming and sitting volleyball.
Harry played an instrumental role in bringing the Games to the UK in 2014 when 300 competitors from 13 countries took part in the inaugural competition in London.
A trip to the Warrior Games in Colorado a year earlier had been the inspiration, as Harry saw first hand how sport helped inspire recovery and support rehabilitation of wounded troops.
Following the duke’s extraordinary legal wrangle over his security when coming to Britain, Harry was said to have wanted to return for the thanksgiving service for Philip, and to bring his children Archie and Lilibet and wife Meghan.
Government officials are understood to have been infuriated by the royal’s legal action.
They allegedly warned him British police officers are not available for ‘personal protective security’, and that it was ‘irrelevant’ he offered to pay for them himself.
After his grandfather died in April last year, Harry did return for the funeral, leaving his then-pregnant wife Meghan and son Archie behind in America.
Prince Andrew controversially walked his mother down the aisle at Westminster Abbey. Pictured: He releases his mother from his arm as she walks the final steps to her seat unaided
The decision for Harry to miss such an important event last week, particularly one which honoured his much-loved grandfather, is likely to add further tension to the strained relationship with his family.
When the Queen recently announced that it was her ‘sincere wish’ that Camilla would become Queen when her husband Charles is King, Harry made no publicly supportive comment to his stepmother in response to the news.
And the Royal family is braced for further bombshells from Harry when he publishes his memoirs, which are said to have been pushed back to the end of this year.
Harry surprised Invictus Games Team UK competitors with a video call on Wednesday as members gathered for a final training camp before the event takes place in the Netherlands later this month.
The room erupted in laughter when Harry commented on the fact the competitors had had two years to prepare for the games and that therefore fitness should not be an issue.
‘You realise that no-one, not just you guys, no-one’s got any excuses for not being fit now,’ he joked.
Harry also enquired about former royal army physical training corps instructor Vic Wales, who was one of the instructing staff while he was a cadet at Sandhurst.
‘Is my PTI from Sandhurst in here somewhere?’ Harry asked, before spotting her and exclaiming: ‘There she is.’
He said: ‘I can’t believe after, how many years, 15 years, our paths are about to cross again.
‘You used to shout at me so much.’
Harry appeared to be told that he needed it, as he then said: ‘I needed it. Yeah, cool. That’s also fair enough.’