Wounded war veterans embrace Harry and Meghan’s pre-wedding spotlight

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Updated

April 07, 2018 06:46:41

The cameras start snapping before the car door even opens.

The clicks crescendo as Prince Harry and his American bride-to-be emerge, striding purposefully across an athletics track for a carefully choreographed media appearance.

They shake several hands, watch a running race and a bit of shot-put, all the while smiling for the large pack of photographers and camera operators, who are mostly fenced into an enclosure 20 metres away.

The royal reporters jot down notes about Meghan Markle’s fashion choices.

TV journalists from either side of the Atlantic remark upon the couple’s commitment to charitable causes and, of course, the countdown to the big day — there is only six weeks to go!

And then suddenly, they are off, waving on their way. Another pre-wedding-of-the-year public event is over.

Some reading this will think all the Harry-Meghan hype is a bit silly and overdone.

Others may opine that journalists would be much better spending their time chasing real stories.

Fair enough.

But for the wounded war veterans who were the stars of this show, the global publicity was priceless.

“For Harry to spend his time shining a light on us is a measure of the man,” said Mark Ormrod, a former royal marine who lost both his legs and an arm after stepping on a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

In Bath, Mr Ormrod was one of more than 400 wounded, sick or injured military men and women, competing for a spot on the UK’s Invictus Games Team.

The international sporting event, which Prince Harry founded, will be held in Sydney this October.

“I’m really excited for it to be in Sydney,” said Fijian born, Derek Derenalagi, who lost two legs on his second tour of Afghanistan in 2007.

“Sport has really helped me with the physical and in particular mental scars … and I’m really grateful for what Harry’s done.”

Some of the veterans plan to get together and watch the royal wedding on TV.

Others do not seem particularly fussed about it either way.

But they all hope the Prince and Ms Markle will keep the Invictus Games going and growing, long after the media spotlight has moved on.

Topics:

royal-and-imperial-matters,

human-interest,

veterans,

united-kingdom

First posted

April 07, 2018 06:31:18

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