Prince Harry shares video message to mark opening ceremony of postponed Invictus Games

Prince Harry has marked what would have been the opening ceremony of his international multi-sport event, the Invictus Games, by sharing his well-wishes with his "Invictus family" in a supportive video message.

The Duke of Sussex, 35, founded the sporting event for wounded, injured or ill servicemen and women and their associated veterans to compete in nine sports, including the likes of sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. It was first held in September 2014. 

The 2020 Invictus Games, due to be held in The Hague, has been postponed until 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Harry, who also serves as the event's patron, acknowledged that life has "changed dramatically" during this uncertain, turbulent time. He urged competitors and supporters of the Games to support one another and participate in upcoming virtual activities.

"As we commemorate VE Day this weekend and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the entire Second World War generation, we should have also been gathering together in the Netherlands to kickstart the Invictus Games 2020 in The Hague," Harry said in the video, filmed from his new Los Angeles residence. 

"Life has changed dramatically for all of us since I was last in The Hague, but the IG 2020 team has done an incredible job to adapt so quickly to the situation, and they are busy putting plans in place for next year.

"The new dates will be shared with you very soon. I hope that all of those in the Invictus family are coping well and supporting each other through this challenging time."

He encouraged participants and supporters to "look out for those that have gone quiet, or that are no longer visible on the chat sites".

"You guys are the best at this, so I have no doubt that you're all rallying around and supporting one another," he added.

"Although we can't be together in person, I'm really happy that there are plenty of virtual activities planned for this week, and I encourage you all to get involved if you can, because you never know, it might be fun and a change from the norm.

"Throughout this week, we will be seeing and hearing from many Invictus competitors, their experience and resilience in dealing with mental health challenges is something we could all learn lessons from."

He also acknowledged the "incredible healthcare professionals" on the frontline of the battle against the disease, caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus. 

The Invictus Games Foundation will host a virtual conference, with international speakers and participants "sharing their thoughts and experience of resilience and why the Invictus spirit is so important".

The Prince has also been subject to "dramatic change" in recent months as he and wife Meghan Markle stepped back from their royal duties to relocate to America with their infant son, Archie. 

The family are now residing in their new Los Angeles villa, valued at a reported £14.5 million (NZ$29.3 million).