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Royals

Prince Harry Is All Smiles Ahead of His First Public Appearance with Meghan Markle in Toronto

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Prince Harry can’t hide his excitement!

The royal kicked off events leading up to his Invictus Games in Toronto on Friday by attending a special meeting that highlighted how sports can benefit the competitors and their families.

Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle, is also expected to attend the games — which run from Sept. 23 to Sept. 30 — in her adopted hometown of Toronto (where she films her hit show, Suits), according to insiders, but she is likely to do so in an unofficial capacity — cheering from the stands.

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The impact on families is a key focus of the Paralympic-style competition for injured servicemen and women – which follows last year’s events in Orlando and the inaugural games in London in 2014. 

Harry was inspired by the U.S.’s Warrior Games when it came to creating his international competition.

Danny Lawson/PA Images/Getty
 

The games’ opening ceremony is on Saturday, officially starting eight days of sporting events across 12 adaptive sports involving around 550 competitors from 17 nations. It ends on September 30 with a star-studded concert with performances by Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and Bryan Adams.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Friday’s event, hosted by the military charity, the True Patriot Love Foundation, explored themes including secondary PTSD, caregiver fatigue, the resilience of military children when faced with parental injury and how sports help the family’s journey to recovery.

Harry spent some time a pregnant athlete who was medically retired from the U.S. Army in 2010 after suffering a traumatic brain injury following a truck bomb blast in Iraq in 2006.

Randi Gavell from Lawton, Oklahoma, told the prince that she and her husband, Richard Hobson, 30, a serving staff sergeant in the U.S Army, are expecting a girl. 

“The first question I asked my doctor was if I could still go to Canada,” Gavell, who is four-and-a-half months pregnant, told Harry when he congratulated her. “I’ll take it easy, I will be careful. It’s a girl and we’re pretty excited. She will probably have more medals before she’s born!”

Hobson then told Harry that “maybe next year you’ll meet the baby.” The 2018 games are set for Sydney, Australia.

Later in the day, Harry will check in on some training as the athletes make their final preparations for the games.