Prince Harry’s 2020 Invictus Games have officially been postponed. The sporting event, which was due to take place May 9 through May 16 in The Hague, will now be held next year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Although no new date has been set, the Invictus Games Foundation said it could possibly be rescheduled for May or June of 2021. “We are now investigating all options to reschedule the Invictus Games, subject to the availability of key facilities and resources, to May or June 2021. Significant planning to scope and confirm this option is underway,” the foundation’s statement read.
“This decision was taken in consultation with the participating nations’ teams and in close coordination with local and national authorities to limit the impact of the pandemic on all parties involved in the delivery of, and particularly participation in, the Games,” the message continued. “The decision was also taken in recognition of the anticipated strain on medical staff and the infrastructure required in dealing with the pandemic. We did not wish to add to the complexity of the response, or increase the risk to those involved, by bringing together an international and potentially vulnerable audience.”
According to the foundation, organizing the 2020 games “has become impossible” since all parties involved in organizing and participating in the event are “facing the current impact” of the COVID-19 outbreak. “Competitors from the 20 nations involved have been hard at work training for these Invictus Games as part of their recovery process. However, the safety and wellbeing of these wounded, injured or sick Servicemen and women, and their friends and family, is paramount,” the foundation said. “We know that not holding the Invictus Games this May will be disappointing news to the whole Invictus Family, and to all of those involved in the planning and delivery of the Games. We are very appreciative of the continued support of those who have been and continue to be involved in the Invictus Games The Hague 2020, and we remain committed to the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.”
The @WeAreInvictus patron, the #DukeofSussex, has released a video message to the #InvictusGames competitors recognising their disappointment at the news, but that it's the best outcome for their safety and recovery. #CoronavirusUpdate#IG2020#COVID19pic.twitter.com/SLbT7QOl7D— Invictus Games The Hague 2020 (@InvictusGamesNL) March 19, 2020
Shortly after the news broke, Harry released a video calling the decision to postpone the Invictus Games “incredibly difficult,” but acknowledged it was the “safest”and “most sensible” option. The Duke also encouraged competitors to maintain their focus for the games and to look after themselves and one another. “I’m really sorry we couldn’t make this happen,” he said. “Take care and look after yourselves. I’ll catch up with you soon.”
Meghan Markle’s husband founded the international multi-sport event back in 2014. The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery and support rehabilitation for wounded, injured, or sick servicemen and women. Harry announced in January that the 2022 games will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany. “In 2022, the Invictus Games will travel to a new country, a new home for respect for our armed forces,” the Duke of Sussex said in a video shared by the Invictus Games Foundation.
The coronavirus has affected a number of royals directly and indirectly, including Harry’s cousin, Princess Beatrice, whose May 2020 wedding reception was canceled because of the virus. Meanwhile, Prince Albert of Monaco has tested positive for COVID-19. On March 19, Harry and Meghan, whose royal duties end March 31, publicly supported Queen Elizabeth by sharing Her Majesty’s message regarding the virus pandemic. “As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty,” the Queen said. “We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.”
The monarch concluded her statement saying, “Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”