Prince Harry is making the most of the Invictus Games in Germany!
On Monday, the Duke of Sussex, 38, stepped out solo for the second day of sporting events at the Paralympic-style competition for veterans and service personnel in Düsseldorf.
Prince Harry founded the international adaptive tournament to promote the transformative power of sport for those who have served in 2014, and the current Games mark the event’s sixth cycle.
King Charles’ younger son was all smiles as he attended the track and field finals on Monday morning. Harry spent time with Wali Noori of Team U.K., who was blinded by a Taliban bomb in 2009 and chatted with Yulia Laputina, Minister for Veterans Affairs of Ukraine.
The Duke of Sussex seemed to be in good spirits from his spot in the stands for the track and field final, closely following the action alongside Laputina, Kenyan senator Gloria Orwoba and David Wiseman, a British Army veteran and Invictus Games official who appeared in Heart of Invictus, Netflix’s new limited series about the Invictus Games in The Hague in April 2022
Prince Harry has been connecting with athletes in recent days, chatting with them and posing for photos. In a post shared by Team U.K. competitor Charlie Holford, he sported sunglasses for a pair of selfies. While Harry smiled in the first snap, he made a frowning face in the second.
Holford, who goes by the Instagram name @onelegandamullet, captioned the post, “Picture 1 – I told him he could try them on. Picture 2 – I told him he couldn’t keep them. He did get to stroke my hair though; he left a happy man.”
Royal photographer Tim Rooke captured a moment where Harry met another man with a ginger beard — and reached out to touch it!
Prince Harry has been on the go since he arrived in Düsseldorf on Friday, where he met with athletes and volunteers before the opening ceremony on Saturday. The Duke of Sussex wore a black polo with the Invictus Games logo, and he later changed into a suit for the Invictus Games Host City Reception at City Hall, where he walked in with the Mayor of Dusseldorf, Stephan Keller.
The 2023 Invictus Games welcome 500 athletes from 21 countries to compete in 10 sports, and Harry graced the stage for an empowering speech at the opening ceremony on Saturday. The Duke of Sussex shared words of wisdom about self-discovery and teamwork, while also giving a cheeky shout-out to his wife, Meghan Markle.
Toward the end of his remarks, Prince Harry recognized new nations joining the games — including Colombia, Israel and Nigeria — and as he explained, Nigeria definitely has fans in his household.
“Now, I’m not saying we play favorites in our home, but since my wife discovered she’s of Nigerian descent, it’s likely to get a little bit more competitive this year,” he said, referencing Meghan discovering that she is 43% Nigerian through a genealogy test, which she spoke about on her podcast Archetypes in October 2022.
Elsewhere in the address, the Duke of Sussex asked those in attendance to look at their current uniforms, and while he noted that they may not be camouflage, they are “once again part of a team” and are “surrounded by people who know what it means to serve, who have a good idea of what it’s taken to get here, who see and know you, and who respect you through your shared experience.”
That evening, the Spare author appeared on the TV show Das aktuelle Sportstudio on German channel ZDF, where he spoke about the Invictus Games and participated in a soccer challenge — that wasn’t as easy as it looked!
In a clip shared from the show on social media, Prince Harry and German Federal Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, along with Angelo Anderson and Jens Niemeyer, took turns attempting to kick a soccer ball through two holes in a wall on the studio set in a staple segment.
While Harry didn’t score, he happily donned the scarf he received from a local German club, FSV Mainz 05 (in lieu of a national jersey), to much applause from the audience. He also spoke about the impact of founding the Invictus Games.
“To be honest with you, setting up the Invictus Games was a bit of a lifeline for me,” said the British Army veteran, who deployed twice to Afghanistan during his 10 years of duty, per talkSPORT. “I didn’t realize it at first but being in this community, hearing a lot of stories, there were a lot of similarities.”
Prince Harry supported the Invictus competition kickoff early Sunday morning, where he watched the first rounds of powerlifting and wheelchair rugby.
While he’s so far appeared solo at Invictus, a special guest is expected to join him in the coming days. Last month, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that Meghan, 42, will attend the Invictus Games, as she has in past years.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are delighted to attend the Invictus Games 2023 in Düsseldorf. The Duke will be in attendance throughout the entirety of the games and will be joined by The Duchess shortly after the games begin,” a spokesperson said in a statement shared with PEOPLE.
The closing ceremony is set for Saturday, Sept. 16, and will feature a performance by Rita Ora.
Prince Harry’s trip to Europe began with a stop in the U.K. for a cause close to his heart. On Thursday, he attended the WellChild Awards in London. The national charity works to support seriously ill children and their families, and Harry has been a patron since 2007. The prince regularly attends WellChild’s annual awards ceremony, and Meghan joined him in 2018 and 2019.
The event fell the day before the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death on Sept. 8, and Harry spoke about how he felt his grandmother’s presence there.
“As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away,” the Duke of Sussex said on stage after presenting the Inspirational Child award for ages 4 to 6. “As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her. And that’s precisely why I know, exactly one year on, she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we’re together continuing to spotlight such an incredible community.”
That Friday, he made a private stop at Queen Elizabeth’s burial site on the first anniversary of her death. The sovereign was laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle following her death last Sept. 8 at age 96. The Telegraph shared a photo of Harry appearing to walk out of the chapel toward a waiting car.
A royal source confirmed to PEOPLE that some members of the royal family visited the chapel on the anniversary.
However, Prince Harry was not expected to cross paths with his father, King Charles, or brother, Prince William, during his visit to England.
The King, 74, marked the anniversary of his mother’s death and his own accession quietly at Balmoral. King Charles and Queen Camilla were photographed driving to a service at Crathie Kirk church on the anniversary.
Meanwhile, Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Wales on Friday. The Prince and Princess of Wales, both 41, participated in a short private service in the ancient St. David Cathedral, which included a commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s life to coincide with the one-year anniversary of her death.