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Meghan Markle's first day at the Invictus arena left me feeling emotional

 The Duchess arrived in Dusseldorf on Tuesday…


Meghan Markle's first day at the Invictus arena left me feeling emotional© ODD ANDERSEN
September 13, 2023
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Get the tissues at the ready because it was an emotional day five at the Invictus Games. Before I get to the heartfelt stuff, let's start with the fact that it was the Duchess of Sussex's debut at the arena on Wednesday - and what a chic debut it was. The Chanel pumps were just to die for!

The loved-up duo's first Invictus exploit was at the wheelchair basketball in the morning, where Meghan was greeted with an excitable chant from the Nigerian team. The group chatted with Meghan and Prince Harry after the match and revealed they feel an extra special connection to the Duchess as she has Nigerian heritage. 

I managed to catch up with Derrick Cobbinah, the facilitator for the Nigerian team, and their team leader Bobby Ojeh. Derrick made a very sad revelation about people with disabilities in Africa.  He explained:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle © getty
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared to be in great spirits

"The stigma around disability of people in Africa…people [in African society] don't understand when people are disabled so in that situation they are kept away from public view. Everywhere in Africa, people do not actually see disabled people doing a lot of sports. It's not that common, so for the first time, for Invictus to come in and bring an element of hope in terms of people with disabilities coming up and doing more, and being beintegrated into society. 

"And it helps infrastructure as well, to be more disability friendly. Because now we can have hotels and everything that have got access for people as well."  This is so important for the country, as they have hopes of hosting one of the upcoming Invictus Games.

Meghan Markle and athletes with the Nigerian flag© Chris Jackson
Meghan is so proud of her Nigerian heritage

Meanwhile, team leader Bobby opened up about his experience with the Duchess who not only received her own Nigerian names, but, also she told Bobby she wanted to pay Nigeria a visit with her children Archie and Lilibet, and her mother, Doria Ragland. 

He said: "Behind every successful man is a woman, and trust me Megahn has been amazing, contributing to the success story of Invictus. The sky is the limit but trust me they are going to the heavens."

Harry and Meghan pose with the Nigeria team at the Invictus Games© Getty
Harry and Meghan pose with the Nigeria team at the Invictus Games

Talking about their decision to give Meghan a Nigeran name, he added: "She has the sentimental attachment to Nigeria, so it dawned on us as a team to say why don't we just give Meghan a name.

"She's wonderful, she's just wonderful. The way she embraced [her Nigerian heritage] meant a lot to us as Nigerians and this is the message we take back to Nigeria."

Bobby also opened up about the Prince, explaining: "A man with a big vision like this, trust me for him to have this kind of vision, shows the kind of heart he has. I always say to people when you have a vision you always need people to be the vision carriers and he is more than just the visionary himself. 

"See the fact that people are rallying around him to make sure his vision comes to life, shows the kind of man he is and how much of a leader he is."

One major thing I couldn't help but notice all day was just how happy Prince Harry and Meghan were to be in each other's presence. There were so many intimate moments between them where they were tactile and affectionate and it was so heartwarming to see. 

Harry and Meghan singing and dancing© Chris Jackson
The pair sang the evening away

One stand-out moment has to be watching them sing their hearts out together to Sweet Caroline at the swimming. Another saw them strolling hand in hand into the last event of the day which was the wheelchair basketball final. 

WATCH: Harry and Meghan sing Sweet Caroline with gusto

Tonight's match between the US and France took the competition to a new level with horns, confetti canons and flags as far as the eyes could see. I can't wait to see what the rest of the week brings.

RELATED: A Right Royal Podcast's latest episode, Royal Holidays, reveals never-before-heard anecdotes about the royal family, including the reason why Prince William was banned from the cockpit once Prince Harry was born, listen to the episode below.

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