The event saw 200 attendees mark the culmination of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's visit to British Columbia

Meghan Markle stuns in off-the-shoulder gown alongside Prince Harry at emotional Invictus gala

On Friday, February 16, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, wrapped up a tearful three days in Canada with a moving speech at a gala that saw 200 guests, including his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, give him a standing ovation.

With more than 200 guests seated for dinner, the occasion served as the pinnacle of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s visit to British Columbia, fostering a spirit of harmony and joy in advance of the 2025 Invictus Games.

 

Squamish Nation Councillor, Wilson Williams, from left to right, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Jen Thomas, and Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex exchange greetings
Photo: © ETHAN CAIRNS

“As we come here to learn, I hope that after we leave, we can return as friends. Our journey toward truth and reconciliation is a significant one for all of us. Harry said, “I feel humbled and at home when I am with the Invictus community surrounded by so many brave men and women who have served their countries with distinction. I appreciate the First Nations for opening their land for the Games.”

“We are reminded of the progress we have made, the challenges we have overcome, and the victories we have celebrated as we look forward to next year’s games,” he said. Our path has been characterized by bravery, tenacity, and an unshakable dedication to common ideals of community, sacrifice, and service.

With her hair styled in natural waves and makeup applied flawlessly, Meghan looked stunning in an off-the-shoulder dress of olive green by Canadian designer Greta Constantine. She accessorized the look with jewels from Logan Hollowell and Manolo heels.

 

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex speaks during the “One Year to Go” Invictus Games dinner
Photo: © ETHAN CAIRNS

Michael Buble, who had spent the day learning wheelchair curling with Harry, and his wife Luisana Lopilato joined the royal couple at their table. Michael serenaded the guests with a new song honoring the Games, set to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

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The lyrics were revised to include the lines “one man, life-changing plan, he does all he can, he’s a visionary” and “who knew, dreams can come true, when life tells you, you’re far from finished.” “You’ve earned each day, the right to say, I did it my way,” was the refrain that closed the song.

The couple received thoughtful gifts from Johnna Sparrow, an Indigenous advisor for the Games and sister of Chief Wayne Sparrow of the Musqueam Indian Band, signifying that the evening was not just a farewell but also a bridge to the future. Native American blankets, woven for their offspring, carried a heartfelt message of memory and ties to their parents’ significant pursuits.

At one point, the drummers and dancers of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation took the stage and shared their traditional songs and dances, with the lively participation of young children.

 

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex walks to the stage after Canadian signer and songwriter, Michael Buble’s performance during the “One Year to Go” Invictus Games dinner
Photo: © ETHAN CAIRNS

At the start of the evening, Invictus Team Canada 2022’s Mike Bourgeois welcomed the audience with warmth, reinforcing the spirit of unity and purpose that the Invictus Games represent. Premier David Eby of British Columbia also expressed gratitude for the honor of hosting the event and eagerly anticipated the Games in 2019.

The transformative power of such international gatherings was highlighted by Eby, who related an inspiring encounter with an Invictus athlete who claimed the Games had been a lifesaving experience.

Eby pledged, “We are going to do everything we can…to make these Invictus Games the best games you’ve ever seen,” demonstrating his dedication to quality and his support for the heroes taking part.

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This spirit of commitment and purpose was echoed by Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister of Sport and Physical Activity. She emphasized the fundamental principles of community, family, and service that the Invictus Games honor, exuding confidence in the Games’ flawless execution and long-lasting effects.

 

Dancers from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation perform during the “One Year to Go” Invictus Games dinner
Photo: © ETHAN CAIRNS

Qualtrough described the Games as a venue for athletes to overcome constraints and question societal perceptions about disabilities, drawing on her own experiences in parasports.

With poignancy, she said, “Our injuries and disabilities do not define us. The Invictus Games’ empowering message is summed up in this quote: “They are part of who we are, sure, but not the whole story.”

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