Prince Harry met President Barack Obama for the first time when he traveled to Washington, D.C. yesterday, October 28. Harry also met with Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden (wife of Vice President Joe Biden) to launch the Invictus Games in Orlando next May, giving two moving speeches about how his time in the army changed his life.
During his last trip to the US, in May 2013, Harry met with Michelle Obama in the White House, but did not hold a meeting with the President. This time, Harry made it to the Oval Office for a meeting with POTUS.
During the exchange, Obama said:
“We want to thank his royal highness for his own service in Afghanistan alongside our outstanding American troops. It is a testament to the special relationship, the incredible bond that we share between our two countries and that bond continues into the next generation of leadership that his royal highness represents. So we’re very grateful for him, not only for the specific work, but also for continuing to strengthen the deep, deep bonds between our two countries.”
“Thank you very, very much for hosting us today, especially giving the Invictus Games the boost that it so readily deserves, I suppose. I had huge amounts of fun designing the Invictus Games based around stealing the Warrior Games off yourselves, and making it international, making it better, now we’re giving it back to you. So we are really looking forward to [I can’t understand what he’s saying] hoping to see as many people as possible come down and support all our wounded warriors.”
You might want to turn the sound up on your computer when Harry starts speaking in this video. I had to because I couldn’t understand what he was saying at first. Harry really needs to speak up and enunciate better. There is a part that I just could not understand even after several listens and wasn’t able to transcribe.
I hate to do this, but compare Harry’s interact with Obama to Prince William‘s (link to video here), in which William talks about not checking to see whether Prince George was a boy or a girl and Obama turning to talk to the press instead.
Earlier in the day, Harry joined Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden at Fort Belvoir, Virginia for an event to highlight the upcoming Invictus Games. The trio started the day listening to a music presentation by wounded warriors at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir.
Also at the Family Center, Harry joined an art therapy class helping veterans with mental injuries.
The trio moved to Wells Field House where Dr. Biden, M. Obama, and Harry all gave speeches.
In his speech, Harry discussed his time in the army and the incident that changed his life:
“I am in no doubt that my two deployments to Afghanistan changed the direction of my life. There is very little that can truly prepare you for the reality of war. The experiences can be stark and long lasting.
“Returning to the UK after my first deployment, I shared the flight home with three critically injured British soldiers, all in induced comas, and the body of a Danish soldier, killed in action. It hit me then that this flight was one of many, carrying home men and women whose lives would be changed forever, and some who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
“From that moment, I knew I had a responsibility to help all veterans, who had made huge personal sacrifices for their countries, to lead healthy and dignified lives after service.”
Harry also discussed the mental health of veterans, addressing the stigma that surrounds all mental health:
“The Invictus Games seeks to change perceptions of physical and mental injury. One thing we have to talk about more is breaking down these barriers around so-called invisible injuries, like post-traumatic stress, just as we have for physical injuries like the loss of a limb.
“This is a topic I know the First Lady and Dr. Biden are working hard to highlight so that people are no longer afraid to ask for help. This fear of coming forward, as a result of the stigma which surrounds mental health, is one of the greatest challenges veterans face. People from all walks of life struggle with issues like post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression, not just veterans.
“We have to help them all to get the support they need, without fear of being judged or discriminated against. Not only is it ok to talk about it, we have to talk about it.”
You can read the full speech on the princeofwales website. I’m including a video of Harry’s speech below. You can here the end of M. Obama’s speech before Harry’s in the video.
It’s great to see Harry mention mental health as well. I know we’ve kind of poo-pooed William and Kate’s mental health kick, but mental health really is a topic that deserves attention as so many people are affected by it. This was a great speech. It was appropriately personal, it informatively talked about the main topic (the Invictus Games), and it mentioned the issues and stigma that veterans suffer from. Great job, Harry.
After the speeches, Harry, M. Obama, and Dr. Biden watched a Wounded Warriors wheelchair basketball game. They looked like they had a lot of fun.
While in Washington, Harry attended an Invictus Board meeting at the British Ambassador’s Residence.
In the evening, Harry attended an Invictus Games reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence where he gave another moving speech.
“Seeing these young guys – much younger than me – wrapped in plastic and missing limbs with hundreds of tubes coming out of them, was something I never prepared myself for. For me, this is where it all started. From that moment, I was committed to doing all I could to ensure that [they] would recieve the recognition and support they deserved.”
Country singer Tim McGraw was among the attendees at the reception.
During her speech, Michelle Obama got the crowd going by saying: “Come on ladies, Prince Harry is here. Don’t pretend you didn’t notice!” Which received a huge cheer from the audience. Harry charmed the First Lady during his first visit to the US back in 2013, and it was cute watching their interactions from yesterday.
BTW, not that it matters, but Michelle wore a Tadashi Shoji dress – the Rose Motif Collared Shirt Dress ($428.00). Shoji does a lot of lace in his designs, and we all know Kate loves her lace. I wish she would look into wearing some Tadashi Shoji; as far as lace dresses go his are rather nice and right up Kate’s style alley.
When you get seated next to the cutest boy in class pic.twitter.com/pNC1h0QaxI
— GIF The News (@NowThisGIF) October 28, 2015
Links: Express. Daily Mail.