The prince took part in an exhibition match at the Invictus Games
Harry’s team included his cousin Zara Tindall, and they played against a team starring Tindall’s husband Mike Tindall and British Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes.
The teams emerged to raucous applause and the prince, 29, scored within the first few seconds, much to the delight of the excitable crowd. The more than 7,000 spectators included Princess Kate‘s siblings, Pippa and James Middleton, as well as Zara’s brother Peter Phillips. Kate herself was noticeably absent, due to her severe morning sickness.
During the game, Harry was benched, or, “sin binned,” as it’s said in the U.K., for some light-hearted skirmishes. The crowd pretended to jeer as Harry was sent off.
His team captain, Jason Robinson, told reporters afterward, “Somebody had to be sin binned. It was either him or Mike Tindall! Whatever Harry does, he goes at it 100 per cent.”
Olympic heptathlete Denise Lewis explained why Harry was sent off briefly. She told reporters, “It was very competitive, no one wanted to lose. Prince Harry ended up in the sin bin for a foul on me, that was the sort of competition there was. He just rammed me, he just tried to take me out. I don t know the rules, but I know it was a foul.”
She said she hadn’t managed to speak to the Prince, adding, “But he is probably gloating.”
Harry’s team beat the opponents 8-6, and the prince gave his cousin Zara a celebratory kiss as the team members congratulated one another.
Even Prince Harry’s opponents applauded his effort. “When it’s sport you have to go for it. During the practice, Harry kept barging into me. I was determined to get back at him, but I didn’t get the chance,” said Kelly Holmes. “We’ve had a good banter. He was really grateful for us taking part. The fact he has been so passionate about it is great.”
The game took place in the Copper Box Arena, one of the London 2012 Olympic venues being used for Harry’s championships for injured, wounded and sick servicemen and women.
“I was grateful to be asked and honored to be here. People underestimate the impact it has for servicemen and women,” Holmes said. “This coming together for the games for them is so unique.”
Around 400 competitors from 13 countries are taking part in the inaugural games, which end on Sunday with a concert starring the Foo Fighters, Bryan Adams and James Blunt.