Photos and text by Chris Jackson
The 2017 Invictus Games is underway and Royal photographer Chris Jackson has been on the ground capturing all the action. Follow along for a behind-the-lens look at some special moments.
“I have been involved with documenting the Invictus Games right from the start. Prince Harry admits he 'stole' the idea from the much smaller ‘Warrior Games’ we visited in Colorado Springs a number of years ago. I documented the huge amount of work that went into the planning of the inaugural London 2014 Invictus Games. There was certainly some nerves as organisers and the Prince worked hard to put on this incredible event for wounded warriors. Shooting 'behind the scenes' enables me to capture the fleeting moments as Prince Harry makes his way from event to event. I can see first hand the hugely positive and motivating effect his ambassadorial presence has on the competitors. Backstage in the warm up zones and with the competitors is clearly somewhere he feels comfortable, in the presence of these incredible wounded warriors who have done so much for their countries and suffered the consequences."
“There is a lot of hugging at the Invictus Games. Fact. This is so special because the commitment to competition and the camaraderie between competitors runs so deep. Prince Harry has such a genuine and relaxed connection when he meets the competitors after competition, in the warm-up zone, during the medal ceremony or even in the canteen. It's clearly somewhere he feels so ‘at home’ and everyone appreciates the work and commitment he has put into the games.”
"It really was an emotional evening as UK Armed Forces team member and triple amputee Mark Ormrod achieved a silver in the rowing. Afghanistan vet and a good friend of Prince Harry, the sheer determination on his face and the subsequent emotion was really everything that Invictus is about."
"I loved this shot of Prince Harry being driven around at the Landrover Jaguar Driving experience by little Daimy Gommers, daughter of a Dutch competitor. Typically Prince Harry said ‘who’s in charge here?’ before jumping in alongside the excited little girl and being whizzed around the course. Great images and a fantastic example of why it’s so fun to photograph the Prince – always expect the unexpected!”
"There had been a lot of speculation about whether Prince Harry would bring his girlfriend to the Games and it was to great excitement that they arrived hand-in-hand at the wheelchair tennis on an extremely hot Toronto afternoon in Nathan James Square. For a royal photographer, this first ‘official’ appearance was a huge moment and it was great to see them interacting so naturally as they watched the sport."
"Absolutely loved this sweet sequence of photos of Prince Harry with litte Emily Henson, daughter of Invictus Legend and former UK Armed Forces Captain Dave Henson and his wife Hayley. The ‘popcorn burglar’ as she will forever be known was keen to get her hands on Prince Harry’s snack as they watched the volleyball together. I was chuckling behind my camera as I took these photos….."
"This year there are teams competing from Afghanistan and Iraq. There was a warm welcome from Prince Harry for the power lifting team from Afghanistan as we visited the warm-up zones."
"The much anticipated meeting between Prince Harry and First Lady Melania Trump was certainly a highlight of the start of the Games for me. Security was tight as the secret service inspected every corner of the hotel room where the couple would sit and chat. Prince Harry later met with charismatic Canadian Leader Justin Trudeau.
This year the focus has very much been on friends and family - The important people who keep the competitors motivated and the atmosphere electric! It's a humbling and at the same time intense and whirlwind 10 days, a privilege to document.”
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