- Publish Date
- Friday, 1 September 2023, 11:16AM
The Duke of Sussex’s new five-part docu-series about the 2022 Invictus Games has been released on Netflix.
Heart of Invictus, which forms part of the Sussex’s multi-million-pound deal with the streaming service and was made through their Archewell Productions Company, tells the stories of six athletes competing in the competition.
The international multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans, was first held in 2014 and the documentary’s release comes during the run-up to next month’s games in Dusseldorf, Germany.
So what have we learned from the five episodes?
Archie wants to be an astronaut
While addressing the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games in April last year, the Duke told participants his son Archie wanted to be a pilot or an astronaut when he grows up.
However, he adds it is Archie’s “character” that matters most to the Sussexes, whatever his son’s ambitions may be.
Harry’s difficulty with Dutch pronunciation
In Episode 5, Where The Light Enters, the Duke prepares to address an audience at the Games.
Looking through his notes with Archewell director James Holt, the Duke stumbles on the Dutch surname Eichelsheim as he rehearses thanking General Onno Eichelsheim, chief of defence of the Netherlands, who helped to organise the Invictus Games.
The Duke says: “How on earth do I pronounce that?” while indicating the notes to Holt.
The camera lingers as the two men appear confused.
Holt then plays the name out loud using an automatic voice on his phone, and the Duke practises the pronunciation slowly.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Sussex, in the background, says it correctly on her first try.
Moments later the episode switches to the Duke addressing his audience at the games.
After thanking the “global military community” he says: “We also want to extend our deep gratitude to the Ministry of Defence, State Secretary Christophe van der Maat, and General Onno …”
He pauses as everyone laughs, then very quickly says: “Eichelsheim”.
Harry can see trauma in the eyes of Ukrainian athletes
As the series progresses, the documentary starts to focus on the developing conflict in Ukraine.
Team Ukraine was smuggled out of the country to attend the games during the early days of the war.
Taira Paievska, a member of Team Ukraine, was captured in Mariupol in March 2022, before being released as part of a prisoner exchange.
The Duke says the conflict has been weighing “heavily” on him as he praises the participants for their “resilience, strength and determination”.
Speaking after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he adds he is “literally” able to see the “trauma” in their eyes.
For his part, the Duke hopes the team feel “welcomed” and have the most “electrifying experience” before they return to the war zone.
Meghan’s bit part
The Duchess of Sussex’s appearances in the documentary series were few and far between, mainly limited to old clips of her smiling and greeting people.
The longest clip of the Duchess shows her introducing the Duke to attendees of the 2022 Invictus Games.
Wearing a £620 ($1322) Khaite bodysuit and diamond necklace, she thanks participants for their “service” and “dedication”, saying: “This is the Invictus family”.
She then invites the audience to welcome “my incredible husband Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex”.
In Episode 4, the Duchess attends a meeting with Holt and the Duke among others to discuss the upcoming 2022 games.
Later in the episode, she is heard to say, “Oh my gosh, this looks incredible” as she and the Duke walk through the Invictus Games stadium in The Hague.
For the rest of the series, the focus is very much on the Duke as Meghan fades into the background.
Harry ‘unravelled’ after returning from Afghanistan
In the second episode, Invisible Injuries, which focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder, the Duke says he experienced an “unravelling” after returning from Afghanistan in 2012.
He recalls how memories of Princess Diana’s death in 1997 resurfaced, while footage is played showing 12-year-old Harry attending his mother’s funeral.
He says he feels there was no one around him to help and his trauma was never discussed at the time.
He adds: “When it all came fizzing out I was bouncing off the walls.
“Like, ‘what is going on here, I’m now feeling everything as opposed to being numb’.”
- Daily Telegraph UK
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