British Royal Family

Prince Harry raises the Invictus Games flag on the Harbour Bridge

Let the games begin!

By Juliet Rieden

On a stunning Sydney afternoon, the flags billowing in the brisk breeze for all to see, the NSW standard was lowered to be replaced with the 50sqm black, white and yellow of the Invictus Games flag.

Prince Harry dressed in beige trousers and a black shirt, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison in black baseball cap and a grey t-shirt, chatted to the athletes for several minutes before setting off on the climb.

With the all-important Wentworth by-election tomorrow looking tough for the Liberal Party, Morrison would have been hoping some of the Royal's popularity might rub off on him, but Prince Harry spent most of his time talking to the inspiring Invictus competitors.

They ascended the east top arch of the bridge, crossed over the central summit transverse 134 m above the water, the PM appearing unable to keep up the quick pace set by former Army officer, Harry.

They took in the spectacular views on a sparkling Sydney afternoon, before returning the way they had come.

Prince Harry, with Scott Morrison behind him, looks on as the flag is raised. *(Image: 7 News)*
Prince Harry, with Scott Morrison behind him, looks on as the flag is raised. (Image: 7 News)
What an incredible sight! *(Image: 7 News)*
What an incredible sight! (Image: 7 News)

They were accompanied on the climb by Luke Hill, Captain Ruth Hunt, Peter Rudland and Invictus Ambassador Gwen Cherne. The group stopped a number of times on the way up and down to chat and to rest.

With a helicopter buzzing overhead, the Prince looked cheerful and happy to be bringing the focus back to the Invictus Games, which features 500 competitors from 18 nations.

Small groups of onlookers gathered near the southern pylon, while cars slowed and beeped their horns for the Prince.

The games, which are the brainchild of Prince Harry, himself a former army Captain, celebrate the indomitable spirit of sick and injured servicemen and women.

Luke Hill, from Sydney who is competing in the swimming, was deployed to East Timor, in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Captain Ruth Hunt, from Perth WA, a legal officer from the Australian army is competing in the Indoor Rowing and Swimming.

Peter Rudland, from York, Western Australia is competing in the cycling and wheelchair rugby joined the Australian Army in 1989 and was discharged in 2017. He served in to Cambodia, twice in Iraq, twice to East Timor, Leste and Afghanistan.

READ NEXT: Victoria and David Beckham are set to visit Sydney this month for the Invictus Games

Coming full circle! Harry previously climbed the bridge during his Gap Year in 2003. *(Image: Media Mode)*
Coming full circle! Harry previously climbed the bridge during his Gap Year in 2003. (Image: Media Mode)
The intrepid Prince didn't have to wear the Bridge Climb jumpsuit and instead was allowed to wear his own clothes. *(Image: Media Mode)*
The intrepid Prince didn't have to wear the Bridge Climb jumpsuit and instead was allowed to wear his own clothes. (Image: Media Mode)

Invictus Ambassador Gwen Cherne, is the widow of Peter Cafe who served in Cambodia, Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.

He took his own life in February 2018 and she has since become a passionate Ambassador for the Invictus Games and War Widows Guild.

Tomorrow, Prince Harry will open the Games in a glorious ceremony in front of the Sydney Opera House.

READ NEXT: Revisit the 2017 Invictus Games Opening Ceremony

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will attend the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney tomorrow. *(Image: 7 News)*
Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will attend the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney tomorrow. (Image: 7 News)

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