The Invictus Games concluded Saturday with a speech from its founder Prince Harry — and an unscheduled one from his new wife Meghan Markle.
The couple both addressed the crowd in Sydney, Australia, thanking the veterans and wounded service members whom the Paralympics-style competition honors for their strength and sense of humor.
For the occasion, the Duchess of Sussex, 37 — known for putting her own spin on classic style — wore an olive green custom tuxedo dress from Italian designer Antonio Berardi. She paired it with peach Casablanca pumps from her go-to shoemaker Aquazzura.
Meghan also wore statement jewelry, opting for large black and gold dangly earrings and bangles to play off the simplicity of her frock — a bold choice for a woman who usually prefers more minimalist accessories.
Pulled into an elegant updo, Meghan’s hair gently draped her face.
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Meanwhile, Prince Harry wore a smart grey suit and a white button-down with no tie.
During the closing ceremony, the mom-to-be (Meghan and Harry, 34, are expecting their first child in the spring!) took the stage as the crowd erupted in cheers.
“It’s such an honor to be here tonight with all of you and supporting my husband at the Invictus Games, which he founded four years ago,” she began. “In a short span of time, the games have evolved into an international platform of some of the best athletics and sportsmanship you could ever witness, coupled with a camaraderie and close-knit community, which can only be defined as the Invictus spirit.”
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Meghan also revealed that she has a special connection to the wounded and recovering service members and veterans who participate in the games.
“I’m not sure if many of you know this, but a few years ago, before I had met my husband, I had the incredible honor of visiting troops deployed all over the world, from the U.K. to Italy and Afghanistan, and several other countries,” she recalled.
“In traveling to these military bases, I was given a very special glimpse into the lives of those who serve our countries. I was able to see the unshakable bonds between service men and women on the ground together, but at the same time to feel the palpable longing for family and friends while deployed,” she continued.
Then she shared how moved she was by one veteran who excitedly gave Harry and her a hug last week.
“The Novak family from Chicago is a prime example of this very thing,” shared Meghan. “When their son Ryan suffered a severe injury leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, doctors said he would never be able to walk again. But after speaking to his mom, Karri, it was clear that it was through Ryan’s strength of spirit, and with the unwavering support of his parents, that he was able to prove all of those doctors wrong.”
Meghan continued: “Not only has Ryan competed in sailing, swimming and athletics this week, but when Harry and I saw him at the finish line of the sailing competition, he literally jumped into our boat — with dexterity and ease, by the way — to give both of us a hug.”
“Seeing Ryan’s mom on the water that day, waving a flag to cheer him on was a moment I will never forget,” Meghan said.
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Earlier in the day, to attend the wheelchair basketball final, Meghan wore a maroon top by Australian brand Scanlan Theodore and black pants as Harry wore a black Invictus Games polo shirt.
The couple was greeted with roaring applause and seated with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne.
Later, the couple presented gold medals to Team USA as they congratulated each player on their victory.
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