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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle all smiles while riding miniature Land Rovers at Invictus Games event

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The Invictus Games kicked off on Saturday with an automotive obstacle course ahead of an evening opening ceremony attended by the games’ founder, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle.Harry founded the Invictus Games to aid the rehabilitation of injured or sick military service members and veterans, by giving them the challenge of competing in sports events similar to the Paralympics. This year’s competition is taking place in the Dutch city of The Hague.Ahead of the opening ceremony, he got up close to the action when he was driven around the obstacle course. The couple later waved to spectators as they were driven around in miniature Land Rover cars with children at the wheel.On Friday, the duke and duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are also known, attended a welcome event for competitors and their friends and family, joining them at the event that runs through April 22.PRINCE HARRY, MEGHAN MARKLE MAKE FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE IN EUROPE SINCE STEPPING BACK AS SENIOR ROYALS
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, cheer from the sidelines as they attend the Land Rover Driving Challenge at the Invictus Games.
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)Harry, who served 10 years in the British Army, has been a champion of causes that benefit both servicemen and women. He has been involved with the Walking with the Wounded charity and the Endeavor Fund, which honors veterans. Just days after welcoming his son Archie in May 2019, he traveled to the Netherlands to kick off the official countdown to the 2020 games.It was the couple’s first public appearance in Europe since they gave up their formal royal roles and moved to the U.S. more than two years ago.Among some 500 competitors from 20 nations taking part in the games is a team of 19 from Ukraine — many of them taking a brief break from defending their country against the Russian invasion that triggered a devastating war.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend the Land Rover Driving Challenge at the Invictus Games venue in The Hague, Netherlands, Saturday, April 16, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)The competitors take part in athletics, archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby, as well as Saturday’s driving challenge organized by one of the event’s official partners, car maker Jaguar Land Rover.Harry and Meghan’s arrival in the Netherlands took place just a day after the couple visited Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on their first joint visit to the U.K. since moving to America.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, scream as the Romanian competitor crosses the finish line of the Land Rover Driving Challenge.
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior working royals and moved to North America in 2020, citing the unbearable pressure of their roles and racist attitudes of the British media.Although this is the first time the royal couple has made their return together to the U.K., Harry has been back for two occasions. Nearly a year ago, he returned for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral in April 2021 and then again in July 2021 to witness the unveiling of a statue in honor of his late mother, Princess Diana. The visit to the queen came on Maundy Thursday, a day in the week before Easter that the queen for decades marked by distributing silver coins known as “Maundy money” to pensioners at a church service.CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
Prince Harry helps a little girl driving a miniature Land Rover.
(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)This year, the queen, who has been experiencing mobility issues in recent months and came down with COVID-19 in February, did not attend. She was represented by her eldest son, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla.The monarch also is expected to miss the royal family’s Easter Sunday church service. She has continued to perform royal duties, including virtual audiences with politicians and diplomats.The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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