The Duke of Sussex is “back among his own people”, a war veteran friend of his has said, as a beaming Harry appeared at ease with his wife, Meghan, on the first full day of the Invictus Games.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posed for photographs and met and hugged competitors at the event at the Zuiderpark in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The couple spent Easter Sunday morning at the athletics track and were in the front row for the sitting volleyball.
Jaco van Gass, a Paralympic gold medallist and former Invictus competitor who suffered life-changing injuries with the British Army, sat with them.
Mr van Gass, 35, met Harry, 37, in 2011 when the duke joined the record-breaking team of wounded soldiers he was part of that trekked unsupported to the North Pole.
Read more: Meghan and Harry in intimate display on stage as pair open Invictus Games
He said it was “amazing” to see Harry and Meghan, 40, adding that it was “wonderful” to catch up with them and they were “friendly as ever”.
He said Harry told him he is having a “really, really good time”.
Mr van Gass said: “Invictus is his family, basically. There’s so many familiar faces that he’s not seen in a while, and again to all the nations, just to catch up with them again.
“He’s back with his own people, he’s back in an environment that he’s so natural in and that he cares about. I think that’s the most important thing – this great depth of care that he has for the games.”
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The duke founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military personnel and veterans from across the globe, by giving them the chance to compete in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.
Harry, who served in the British Army for a decade, was stripped of his honorary military roles after the duke and Meghan stepped back from royal duties.
The event has a special significance for the couple, who chose to make their first public appearance together at the Invictus Games almost five years ago.
Mr van Gass said he also spoke briefly with Meghan.
Read more: Harry and Meghan seen in Europe together for the first time since stepping back as senior royals
“She’s having a good time,” he said. “She’s in really good shape and really enjoying all the events… it’s so inspirational”.
The couple, now based in California, visited the Queen in Windsor on Thursdayhaving flown in from the US.
Harry and Meghan’s trips to the UK and the Netherlands come after the pair were absent from the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service in London last month.
The couple have two young children, Archie, who is three-years-old next month and Lilibet, whose first birthday is in June.