Prince Harry on returning to Invictus Games as a husband, 'proud papa': 'Being a dad certainly adds another emotional layer to it'

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Prince Harry is talking about fatherhood during the 2022 Invictus Games. (Photo: Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harry is talking about fatherhood during the 2022 Invictus Games. (Photo: Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Prince Harry is reminding everyone that the most important roles he has in life are father and husband.

The British royal, who gave up his title alongside his wife Meghan Markle two years ago, is now living in California with his family — which includes son Archie, 2, and Lilibet, 10 months.

To ring in the eighth annual Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick veterans, which Harry founded in 2014, he opened up to People magazine about the important lessons he picked up along the way.

"Life is full of extraordinary gifts and challenges, many that can be seen as lessons," he said. "Over time, I've learned that how we mentally approach and react to the ups and downs — those gifts and challenges — is what helps to define our own outcome."

The self-proclaimed "proud papa" noted that this year is the first time he's attending the Games as a father.

"Being a dad certainly adds another emotional layer to it," he said. "When I was in the Army, I promised myself I would be out before having a wife and kids, because I couldn't imagine the heartache of being apart for so long during deployment, the risk of possibly getting injured, and the reality that my family's lives could be changed forever if that happened."

"Every member of the Invictus community has experienced varying degrees of these things," he added. "I have tremendous respect for what they and their families sacrifice in the name of service."

The Games also holds a special place in his heart in terms of his relationship with Markle.

“The Toronto Games were our first time out and about publicly in an official way,” he said of the 2017 Games. “We were dating at the time, so it was a lot to take in, but fortunately, we were with the perfect community for that."

"Now, five years later, here we are in the Hague at the fifth Invictus Games, as parents of two, and living in the US,” he added. “I had always wanted to share these incredible moments with someone special, and to have Meg by my side means everything."

At the opening ceremony on Saturday, during which Harry and Meghan shared a rare kiss that wowed the audience, Harry couldn't help but speak to the crowd about Archie's career dreams.

"When I talk to my son Archie about what he wants to be when he grows up, some days it's an astronaut, other days it's a pilot — a helicopter pilot obviously — or Kwazii from Octonauts," Harry said, according to People. "If you're laughing, then you've seen that."

"But what I remind him is that no matter what you want to be when you grow up, it's your character that matters most, and nothing would make his mum and me prouder than to see him have the character of what we see before us today," he continued.

The royal also spoke of his excitement over eventually bring his children to their first Invictus Games.

"We can't wait!" he shared, noting that he's already introduced the competition to his son. "I showed Archie a video of wheelchair basketball and rugby from the Invictus Games in Sydney, and he absolutely loved it."

He added, "I showed him how some were missing legs and explained that some had invisible injuries, too. Not because he asked, but because I wanted to tell him. Kids understand so much, and to see it through his eyes was amazing because it's so unfiltered and honest."

When asked about his wish for his two little ones, Harry replied: "To grow up in a better world."

"To grow up in a fairer world, a safer world, a more equal world," he continued. "It's not going to be easy, but I will never, ever, ever rest until I as a parent have at least tried to make the world a better place for them. Because it is our responsibility that the world is the way that it is now. I don't think we should be bringing children into the world unless we are going to make that commitment to make it better for them."

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