Prince Harry announced Invictus Games competition is postponed due to the coronavirus and asked disappointed participants to ‘look out for each other’

Prince Harry congratulates Marc Van De Kuilen of the Netherlands, following a match of wheelchair basketball at the Sydney, Australia, Invictus Games in 2018. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation
  • The 2020 Invictus Games are postponed until next year at a date and location that has yet to be decided due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games, a sporting event for injured military personnel and veterans, in 2014, and has been a patron of the charity event ever since.
  • In a video message, Prince Harry addressed participants of the event, saying: “I know how disappointed you must all be. This is a focus that so many of you need. I would encourage you to maintain that focus as best as you can.”
  • It’s the latest major event and competition to be cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has spread across Europe and the world.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

This year’s Invictus Games, an annual competition for injured military personnel and veterans founded by Prince Harry in 2014, have been postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Until Friday, preparations leading to the 2020 competition seemed to be in order; in late-February, Prince Harry met with singer Bon Jovi, who recorded a charity single, “Unbroken,” along with the Invictus Games Choir to support the Invictus Games Foundation.

The Invictus Games Foundation announced the decision Friday on Twitter, and Prince Harry followed with a video message addressing those who were set to participate in this year’s competition, which was supposed to be held in The Hague in the Netherlands from May 9 through May 16.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision for all of us to have to make,” Prince Harry said in the video message addressing prospective Invictus Games participants.

Prince Harry continued to say that postponing the Invictus Games is the safest option for participants and their families. He also encouraged prospective competitors to use the extra time to focus on their mental and physical health.

“I know how disappointed you must all be. This is a focus that so many of you need. I would encourage you to maintain that focus as best as you can,” he said in the video. “The good thing is you have an extra 12 or so months to be even fitter, to get even fitter than you already are, to be at your absolute top mental and physical fitness. So in that sense, I’m really excited about the games next year.”

Meghan and Harry Invictus Games
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince Harry also encouraged participants of the games to look after their own health, as well as their family members and teammates and fellow competitors.

“Please look after yourselves, please look after your families. Please look out for one another – you guys are all in these chat groups, you know who to look out for, so please take care of yourself but do what you do best, which is reaching out to other people, be it those that still wear the uniform, those that used to wear the uniform, or just those people in your community who you know may be suffering or may be vulnerable during this period,” Prince Harry said.

“Do what you do best, and we will do everything that we can to get you a date and a time to show up next year, and you’ll be the first to know,” Prince Harry said at the end of the video.

The announcement about the rescheduling of the Invictus Games follows Queen Elizabeth II’s formal statement addressing concerns about the pandemic and the effects of social isolation.

The games’ postponement comes as major athletic, entertainment, and cultural events around the world have been cancelled due to the novel coronavirus, from FIFA matches and the Bonnaroo music festival to the Kentucky Derby and March Madness.