After months of planning, Prince Harry launched his inaugural Invictus Games on Wednesday at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The event kicked off with a shortened version of God Save the Queen, followed by the Invictus fanfare. The actor Idris Elba read the poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, before the teams emerged to cheers from the crowd.
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Harry, who was introduced by US First Lady Michelle Obama by recorded message, said "lives will be changed" by the Games.
"Over the next four days we will see some truly remarkable achievements. For some of those taking part this will be a stepping stone to elite sport. But for others, it will mark the end of a chapter in their recovery and the beginning of a new one.
"Either way, you can be sure that everyone who takes part on the track, pool or field of play will be giving it their all. And I have no doubt that lives will be changed this weekend."
A fly-by from the famous Red Arrows saluted the events military history, while during the event bands from the military, including the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Queen’s Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment) performed.
Sporting soprano Laura Wright, who also performs for the England Rugby Team performed a new piece specifically written for the event, while there was also a performance of the Games' anthem byColdplay
Supporting the young Prince were his father,Prince Charles
,the Duchess of Cornwall, and his brother,Prince William
. TheDuchess of Cambridge
missed the event due to her acute pregnancy sickness.The competition, inspired by theUS Warrior Games,
is considered to be thePrince
's brainchild and features more than 400 competitors from 13 countries taking part over the course of four days.
Speaking during her message, Michelle added: "Some of the most inspiring moments I have had as First Lady have been when I have met with wounded warriors like so many of you.
"You tell me how you are not just going to recover, but you are going to thrive."
She continued: "While I can't hide that I hope Team USA brings home a few golds, I want you all to know how proud my husband and I are of you and how humbled we are by your example".