Prince Harry announces Invictus Games cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO -- The 2020 Invictus Games scheduled for May have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, a decision that Prince Harry calls “incredibly difficult.”
Prince Harry, who created the games for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and veterans, said efforts were made to try to find an alternative way to carry out the event, set to take place in the Netherlands. But in the end, organizers decided they had no choice but to postpone until next year.
“This decision was the most sensible and the safest option for all of you, for your families and everyone else,” Harry said in a video message on Thursday in which he directly addressed participants.
“I know how disappointed you must all be. This is a focus that so many of you need. I would encourage you to maintain that focus as best you can.”
Prince Harry, who is now living in Vancouver Island with his wife, Meghan, and son, Archie, encouraged participants to reach out to each other for support during this stressful time.
“You guys are all in these chat groups. You know who to look out for. So please take care of yourselves but do what you do best, which is reaching out to other people.”
Prince Harry’s grandmother, the Queen, also issued a statement Thursday saying that the Royal Family is “ready to play our part” during these uncertain times.
“We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months,” the Queen said in a statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
“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.”
Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan called the cancellation "disappointing," but "the right decision."
"I know how hard you’ve been training (Invictus Games Team Canada)," Sajjan wrote on Twitter. "I'm proud of the work you have put in & I'll be there to cheer you on the next time we get to compete."
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 800 Canadians have been infected with COVID-19 and at least 10 have died. Globally, the virus has infected more than 236,000 people and killed 9,790.