The surprise outing comes ahead of the next Invictus Games in Vancouver and Whistler
The Duke of Sussex made the ceremonial first puck drop as he took the ice ahead of the match-up between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks. He and Meghan then took in the game from their box seats.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in Canada ahead of the next Invictus Games, which will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025. Harry, a former captain in the British Army, founded the international adaptive sports tournament for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans in 2014.
Harry's moment on the ice comes 21 years after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, made her own ceremonial puck drop (also at a Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks game!). The late monarch visited Vancouver while on an 11-day tour in Canada in honor of her Golden Jubilee at the time.
Canada is a special place for Meghan, 42, and Harry, 39, and the Invictus Games marked an important moment early in their relationship. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex famously made their debut as a couple at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, where Meghan lived while filming Suits (which she said is “wild” to see trending on Netflix at Variety's Power of Women gala last week).
Not only are Vancouver and Whistler close to Harry and Meghan following their move to Montecito, California, but Vancouver is also a special spot for their family. Before stepping back from their royal roles in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent their first holiday season as a family of three in 2019 with son Prince Archie on Vancouver Island.
The couple received an especially warm welcome at the Invictus Games in Sydney in 2018, days after Kensington Palace announced she was pregnant with Archie.
Exclusively speaking to PEOPLE about the Invictus Games The Hague in 2022 (which was bumped back from 2020 due to the pandemic), Prince Harry touched on the key role Invictus has played in his journey with Meghan.
"There is nowhere you can feel more embraced and supported than with the Invictus family," Prince Harry said at the time. "The Toronto Games were our first time out and about publicly in an official way. We were dating at the time, so it was a lot to take in, but fortunately, we were with the perfect community for that.
"Now, five years later, here we are in The Hague at the fifth Invictus Games, as parents of two, and living in the U.S.,” he continued, referring to son Prince Archie and daughter Princess Lilibet, 2, who born in 2021 following the family’s U.S. move in 2020.
“I had always wanted to share these incredible moments with someone special, and to have Meg by my side means everything,” Prince Harry told PEOPLE.
While it was previously announced that the 2023 Invictus Games would be held in Düsseldorf, Germany (and coincided with Prince Harry’s 39th birthday in September!), the Duke of Sussex revealed at The Hague (which was the subject of Heart of Invictus, now streaming on Netflix) that the seventh Invictus tournament would be held in Canada.
Following cycles in London (2014), Orlando (2016), Toronto (2017) and Sydney (2018), plus the Netherlands and Germany, the competition in Canada in 2025 will be the first time the Invictus Games have returned to a previous host country.
The Invictus Games in Vancouver-Whistler will also be the first to incorporate winter adaptive sports in addition to some of the core sports from previous Invictus Games.
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"As Invictus continues to adapt and evolve, I am extremely excited to announce that the Invictus Games Foundation has selected Canada to host the first-ever Winter Hybrid Games in 2025," Prince Harry said in a statement around the news.
"The Invictus Games Vancouver-Whistler 2025 will offer a global platform to expand the range and profile of winter adaptive sports. With deep respect, I'm also pleased to share that the Games in Canada will be held in partnership with the First Nations, in the spirit of truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities,” he added of the plans.
As for whether Archie and Lili will tag along? Only time will tell!
"We can't wait to bring our kids also so they can experience just how awesome this is," Meghan said in a speech at the latest Invictus Games in Germany.
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