The Ukrainian team received a standing ovation and prolonged applause as they arrived for the ceremony at the Zuiderpark in The Hague on Saturday night
Meghan Markle paid tribute to the Ukraine team at the Invictus Games opening ceremony by exclaiming: “Slava Ukraini! (Glory to Ukraine!)”.
The Ukrainian team received a standing ovation and prolonged applause as they arrived for the ceremony at the Zuiderpark in The Hague on Saturday night.
Meghan, who was invited onto the stage to speak, said everyone “stands by” the Ukrainian team.
She said, “Good evening everyone. We are so grateful to The Netherlands for welcoming us and hosting the Invictus Games.
“My husband and I both recognize that coming here has been a lot for any team, both physically and emotionally. Not least for the Ukraine team, who we all stand with.”
To great applause she added: “Slava Ukraini!”
Harry echoed her feelings and said he hopes the games, taking place in The Hague in the Netherlands, will give the world a chance to “show themselves better” for the country of Ukraine.
The Duke expressed emotion after being brought onto the stage by wife Meghan, with the couple kissing before delivering a heartfelt speech.
Harry founded the Invictus Games to support the rehabilitation of injured or ill military members and veterans from around the world by challenging them to compete in sporting events similar to the Paralympics.
Harry acknowledged the “boundless humility, compassion and friendship” of the Invictus Games.
He said: “I would like to personally thank the people of the Netherlands for welcoming us with such warm Dutch hospitality.
“And I thank the Dutch government, the Ministry of Defense and the Dutch royal family for their support in making this all happen after a two-year wait.”
In her remarks, Meghan said: “One thing I know for sure is that every single moment it took to get here was worth it because here at the Invictus Games we honor your years of active duty the field and your continued service to your country, to your family, and to your community outside the field.
“Thank you for your service and thank you to all the family and friends who are here and have supported you along the way. For this is service, this is devotion, and this is the Invictus family.”
The opening ceremony included live performances by the Kaiser Chiefs, Royal Military Band Johan Willem Friso, singer-songwriter Anneke van Giersbergen and rock band DI-RECT.
Among the audience were Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, with Mr Rutte also addressing the crowd.
Mr Rutte also said he wanted to give the Ukraine team a special welcome.
“No doubt you are here with mixed feelings and great concern about what is happening at home and some members of your team cannot be here because they are fighting on the front lines.
“And like you, we think of you.
“And we also think of the Ukrainians in the Invictus community who paid the ultimate price in the war.
“They deserve our highest respect. Please know that we are all behind you, that we support Ukraine,” he said.
The opening ceremony came after Harry and Meghan jumped into open-top Land Rover miniature vehicles driven by two little girls earlier in the day.
The Duke also took part in the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge, sitting in the passenger seat and helping navigate a course of bridge structures, ramps and rocks.
Jaguar Land Rover is supporting the games financially.
The couple arrived at the Zuiderpark around midday looking casual and relaxed as they chatted to people.
Both wearing sunglasses on a sunny Saturday, they met children on a small track next to the main driving course, and each sat on the passenger compartment next to their young drivers.
Meghan was driven around by five-year-old French Mya Poirot, while Harry was driven by four-year-old Dutch Scarlet Vroegop.
At one point, Meghan appeared to be praising Mya for her driving as she was seen applauding.
The couple made their first public appearance together in Europe since stepping down as senior working royals more than two years ago when they attended a reception at the Games on Friday.
A crew has joined Harry and Meghan at the games as part of filming for a Netflix documentary called Heart Of Invictus – a series from Archewell Productions that follows people attending the event.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/meghan-exclaims-slava-ukraini-invictus-26729652 Meghan shouts "Slava Ukraini" at the Invictus opening ceremony in support of Ukraine