Prince Harry Steps Out in London for Invictus Games Service as Royal Family Attends a Different Event Just Miles Away

Prince Harry is in London for a cause close to his heart the Invictus Games

Published Time: 08.05.2024 - 19:31:08 Modified Time: 08.05.2024 - 19:31:08

Prince Harry is in London for a cause close to his heart: the Invictus Games.

On May 8, the Duke of Sussex arrived at St. Paul's Cathedral —where his parents King Charles and Princess Diana wed in 1981 —for a service commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. Prince Harry, 39,founded the adaptive sports tournament for service personnel and veterans in 2014, and the inaugural Invictus Games were held in London in September 2014.

The Duke of Sussex's latest trip to the U.K. was announced on April 28. He is due to deliver a reading as part of the program, while Homeland actor Damian Lewis will recite the poem "Invictus."

Notably, no other royal family members were expected to attend the service. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Harry wouldn't meet with his father Charles during his visit to the U.K. due to the monarch's "full" schedule.

The Service of Thanksgiving also coincided with the first garden party of the season at Buckingham Palace, which was attended by King Charles, Queen Camilla, Princess Anne, Prince Richard, and Birgitte, the Duchess of Gloucester.

The "Invictus" poem by William Ernest Henley set to be read is full of meaning for the Invictus Games community. Invictus means "unconquered" in Latin, and the competition’s motto "I am" comes from the poem published in 1888; it memorably ends with the lines, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  

"The poem is a reminder that you have the power to take control of your life," Prince Harry told PEOPLE in 2022.

There happens to be a bust of Henley in the Crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, where the service will bring together representatives from across the competition's participating nations, including members of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veteran community. Community members, supporters and beneficiaries will also give readings and participate in the program led by the Dean of St. Paul’s, The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett.

Harry made the Invictus-focused trip to the U.K. without his wife, Meghan Markle, -

who will join him for the second leg of a trip abroad from their California home where they live with their children, Prince Archie, 5, and Princess Lilibet, 2. PEOPLE confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have accepted an invitation to visit Nigeria on behalf of its Chief of Defense Staff, the highest-ranking military official, and the couple's visit there will also spotlight the Invictus Games.

Nigeria made its event debut at the latest Invictus Games in Düsseldorf, Germany in September 2023, where Prince Harry revealed in his opening ceremony speech that his wife was rooting for the team after discovering her Nigerian heritage.

The country's Minister of Defense, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Badaru also attended the tournament in Germany and has expressed willingness to host the games should Nigeria be granted the opportunity.

The Düsseldorf games marked Invictus' sixth cycle, following competitions in London (2014), Orlando (2016), Toronto (2017), Sydney (2018) and The Hague (2022, bumped from 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic). The next event is set for Vancouver and Whistler, Canada, in 2025, which will mark the debut of winter sports — some of which the Duke of Sussex personally tried during the One Year to Go countdown event in Canada in February.

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While speaking to PEOPLE in 2022, Prince Harry credited the Invictus community as "a major part of my growth and learning."

"Creating the Games involved listening to military and veteran families — and hearing directly from them about their lives — and that offered so much perspective. It’s been a lesson in serving a purpose greater than ourselves, and the benefit that comes from that extends to both the individual and the community"  the Duke of Sussex said at the thime. "I truly believe that we are at our best when we’re in service to others, and Invictus is all about upholding that value."

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