Prince Harry spoke about the importance of bagpipes to him during his speech at the closing ceremony for the Invictus Games 2023.
During the speech, Harry appeared emotional as he discussed a conversation he had with a veteran.
Harry shared an emotional moment from his time at the Invictus 2025 tent, hosted by the Canadian team, when he spoke with Master Corporal James Gendron, with the Prince noticing a set of bagpipes in the corner of the tent.
He said in the speech: “While we were chatting, I noticed bagpipes lying on the floor in the corner. Some of you may know what bagpipes mean to me. Little did I know that 30 minutes later it would be James picking them up and offering to play.”
In the past, Prince Harry has opened up about the sad memories that are attached to bagpipes.
Writing in Spare about his mother Princess Diana’s death, he shared: “With bagpipes it’s not the tune, it’s the tone. Thousands of years old, bagpipes are built to amplify what’s already in the heart. If you’re feeling silly, bagpipes make you sillier.
“If you’re angry, bagpipes bring your blood to a higher boil. And if you’re in grief, even if you’re twelve years old and don’t know you’re in grief, maybe especially if you don’t know, bagpipes can drive you mad.”
Discussing his conversation with Corporal James, he said: “Yet I had no idea what they meant to him. In Afghanistan, he played 63 ceremonies for 63 caskets, for 63 families.
“For four years after that last ceremony, he couldn’t touch them. This week, he wasn’t even sure if he could bring himself to play them. But he did. Thank you James for your service, for your courage and for sharing your gift.”
The speech received a standing ovation from the crowd, with Harry appearing to become emotional as Corporal James was applauded.
He finished his speech by thanking people for coming, adding: “After this week, know that you are all leaning away for defining human potential and human decency.
“We value you, we need you and the world does too. Next year, we’ve got a lot to look forward to. The Invictus Games 10 year anniversary and then it’s off to Vancouver Whistler 2025. Germany. Thank you so much for the reception and the respect you have given every single competitor.”
Meghan Markle was seen clapping her husband in a notion of support during the speech.