Prince Harry was seen giving a warm welcome to the Invictus Games for King Willem-Alexander, the Dutch head of state. The Duke of Sussex, dressed in a dark blue suit and blue shirt, was all smiles as he shook hands with the sovereign.
Willem-Alexander, also sporting a smart casual look, paused briefly to pose for a photo before being ushered inside the venue where veterans and service personnel from around the world take part in the final competitions of this year’s event. .
The two royals were accompanied by Mart de Kruif, chairman of the ongoing tournament in The Hague.
Harry and the monarch were later seen inside the stadium, where they watched a wheelchair basketball game between the Dutch and American teams together.
In one image, King Willem-Alexander appears to be on edge as Prince Harry speaks to him.
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Fans of the Duke of Sussex were quick to react to the cheery photos, with a seemingly mocking claim that the Dutch king would reject the Invictus Games despite taking place in his country.
Sharing two snaps of Willem-Alexander and Harry looking at each other with pleasure, Twitter user @InvictusbyPepp wrote: “This is what ‘contempt’ looks like huh…”
In response to this tweet, @ritaag wrote: “Looks like King Willem and King Harry are having fun. I hope the trolls feel pressured because I said King Harry.”
Another, @Portlandia62, tweeted: “I think this qualifies as having an audience with Willem-Alexander. Well done Harry. Great games.”
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Commenting on the snaps, @factsand2cents added: “Oh look it’s Prince Harry and King Willem laughing and having a great time together @InvictusGamesNL.”
The Dutch and British royal families have close ties, as was shown in late March.
King Willem-Alexander traveled to London last month along with his wife, Queen Máxima, and his mother and former queen, Princess Beatrice, to attend a service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip.
Following the moving ceremony, which was attended by several foreign royals, Beatrice also addressed a reception held in celebration of the centenary of the Anglo-Dutch Society, where she was joined by the Queen’s cousins, the Duke and Duchess. of Gloucester.
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King Willem-Alexander is also expected to attend the closing ceremony of the Games, which will take place later today.
While this edition of the Games ends today, the Duke has already generated excitement for the upcoming tournaments.
Next year, veterans and military personnel who have experienced physical or mental problems during service will participate in the Games in Düsseldorf, Germany.
But, as the Duke announced today, the Invictus tournament will undergo some key changes in 2025.
That year, the Games will return to Canada and will be held in the cities of Vancouver and Whistler.
But, for the first time, they will include winter sports such as alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, skeleton skiing and wheelchair curling.
Announcing the news, Duke said: “As Invictus continues to adapt and evolve, I am very excited to announce that the Invictus Games Foundation has selected Canada to host the first Winter Hybrid Games in 2025.
“The Invictus Games Vancouver-Whistler 2025 will provide a global platform to expand the range and profile of disabled winter sports.
“With deep respect, I am also pleased to share that the Games in Canada will be held in partnership with First Nations, in the spirit of truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities.”
In 2017, the Invictus Games were held in Toronto, where Meghan and Harry made their first official appearance together.
Prince Harry founded the Games to raise the profile and visibility of sick, injured and ill veterans and service personnel, as well as to highlight the healing power of community and sports.