Invictus Success Shows Harry and Meghan a Path To ‘Rebuild’ Public Image


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s celebrated appearances during the 2023 Invictus Games could help provide them with a roadmap for future public appearances, a new episode of Newsweek‘s The Royal Report podcast has heard.

The couple attended the tournament which was held in Dusseldorf, Germany, this month. It was the sixth Invictus Games which Harry originally co-founded in 2015 after leaving the armed forces.

The prince championed the idea of a sports tournament that could act as a platform for veterans to showcase their mental and physical rehabilitation after visiting the Warrior Games event in the U.S.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle photographed attending the Invictus Games in Germany, September 15, 2023. The couple received a warm reception from the Invictus community.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Over the past decade, Harry has supported and fostered the Invictus community, retaining his role as founding patron even after his split from the monarchy in 2020.

Where Harry and Meghan have seen their popularity nosedive since leaving the royal family, the couple remain hugely popular among the Invictus community, making their appearances in Dusseldorf all the more positive in their response.

By returning to a series of events so closely tied with traditional royal engagements in a positive environment, their experiences at the games could provide Harry and Meghan with an example to carry forward in future, chief royal correspondent Jack Royston told Royal Report listeners.

Speaking of the sometimes divisive nature of Harry and Meghan’s public output, Royston noted that their work with philanthropy and the military is “much more unifying.”

“It kind of brings everybody together,” he noted. “In which case, Harry’s speech [at the games opening ceremony] I suppose, had this flash of optimism in it. And I think it’s one that shows a path for the couple to rebuild a little bit and do the job, but kind of the way they used to, you know doing it in the old fashioned royal way.”

Royston suggested that the Invictus Games had, in essence, seen Harry and Meghan undertake the same kind of engagements they would have when they were working royals, from making speeches, to presenting medals and posing for glamorous photographs. At the time they were doing this as working royals their popularity was higher than it is now.

Most importantly, the games give the public an extended opportunity to see the couple, where after splitting from the monarchy they rarely announce their events beforehand and when they do, access to those events is highly restricted.

“It gives access to Harry and Meghan,” Royston said of the games. “I think that’s one of the really key points.”

This is not the first time parallels have been drawn between a boost in Harry’s popularity coming as he returns to more traditional forms of royal engagements rather than taking part in bombshell heavy interviews and documentaries.

Entertainment expert Mark Boardman previously told Newsweek that the key to the prince’s future lays in extracting the positive practices from his past working roles.

“Harry must become a royal again to reengage his waning loyal fan base and work with new people to help generate positive media attention,” Boardman said. “This will help [Harry and Meghan] enhance their standing…”

So far, the couple have not announced any forthcoming public appearances. Following the Invictus Games, Harry and Meghan are expected to have quickly returned to California where their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, were waiting at their home in Santa Barbara.

Harry and Meghan have one upcoming media project announced, in the form of a screen adaptation of the hit romance novel Meet Me at the Lake, as part of the collaboration between their Archewell Productions company and Netflix.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.


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