Prince Harry is spending a solo night at the theater – for a cause close to his heart.
The 34-year-old attended a gala performance of the rock musical Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre in London on Thursday in support of the Invictus Games Foundation. The West End show, which brings the anthems of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman to life, tells the story of the young leader of a rebellious gang as he falls in love with the daughter of a tyrannical ruler of post-apocalyptic Manhattan.
Earlier this year, Bat Out Of Hell announced a partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation, the governing body of the Invictus Games. The partnership involves private tours and family theater workshops for wounded, injured or sick serving or ex-service personnel interested in a career in the theatre. A large number of tickets have also been made available to veterans and their families from military charity partners of the Invictus Games Foundation to attend on the night of the gala performance.
The royal received a standing ovation as he stepped on stage, joking that he was dying to sit on a large prop motorcycle and “rev it!”
“I’m sure you’re all desperate for the show to start,” he said. “So just that, I really wanted to come on the stage and say an enormous thank you to Bat Out of Hell for putting tonight on and to all of you for buying tickets and for any of you that didn’t know that this was for the Invictus Foundation, you now know and you have all played a part in making sure that we can continue the work that we do.
“So apart from wanting to get on that bike and rev it… enjoy the show and thank you very much for being part of this.”
The prince addressed the audience on stage on behalf of the Invictus Games Foundation, alongside the show’s producer and cast members, before taking his seat to watch the performance.
Upon his arrival, Prince Harry met with a number of former servicemen and women whose families have been invited to the gala performance.
Harry chatted with Invictus competitors and supporters, including Lieutenant Richard Gray, a serving naval officer, who was a reserve for the recent Invictus Sydney Games. Gray told Harry about he had met his girlfriend of two months, Louise Edwards, as a result of his training for the competition.
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Richard, who has had a shoulder replacement and battled cancer, said that he credited the games for helping him “get himself together” and find love.
“He was joking with me about being a cheap date taking her training,” Gray told reporters.
Asked if the prince and his wife Meghan should be buying new hats with an eye on a wedding, Gray joked: “We would give them an invitation but I’m not sure we could cope with the security.”
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Although Harry was without wife Meghan Markle, who is expecting the couple’s first child, for Thursday’s event, the two are fans of the theater. Back in August, the newlyweds attended a special West End performance of the smash musical Hamilton to raise funds for one of Harry’s longtime charities, Sentebale, which he set up alongside his friend Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.
The couple, who previously saw the hit show during a night out around Valentine’s Day earlier this year, were guests of honor, alongside Hamilton creator and Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. As well as seeing the show, the trio met the cast and crew on the stage of London’s Victoria Palace Theatre.