ROYAL APPROVAL

Prince Harry and bride-to-be Meghan Markle meet West Country veterans...

PRINCE Harry and his bride-to-be met West Country veterans when they spent a day with the campaign that’s at the heart of their Royal work.

Harry and Meghan Markle marked the start of three days of competition at the University of Bath when they visited the Invictus Games UK Team Trials at the Sports Training Village on Friday.

The Invictus Games, using sport as a vehicle for the well-being of injured veterans, is the project Harry is most passionate about and the couple made their first public appearances together at the finals in Canada last year.

On Friday there was a special greeting from them for Plymouth veteran Mark Ormrod, with whom Harry has a close relationship – the picture of the prince congratulating Mark, who has one remaining limb, when he won a medal in Canada drew attention all over the world.

It is the third year Bath has hosted the UK Trials and Prince Harry was cheering on the hundreds of competitors hoping to book their place at the 2018 Games in Sydney.

Ahead of their wedding next month, he and Meghan spoke to the track and field athletes competing across a range of events.

Among them was Army veteran Kelly Ganfield, who trains at the University of Bath. She is visually impaired after suffering two strokes due to a rare blood condition, Antiphospholipid syndrome, and has a special pair of glasses that illustrate how restricted her vision is – something Harry and Meghan experienced.

“I thought I’d offer Prince Harry the chance to wear the glasses and I was absolutely gobsmacked when he tried them on,” said Ganfield, who ran in the 100m and 200m trials today and will compete in the rowing on Sunday.

“He said it was incredible that I could run the way that I do with the vision that I have. He remembered that I row as well and said ‘you row like hell for a little person!’ Meghan tried them on too and said it was pretty amazing to do what I do with the vision I have – that was before my daughter Bethany distracted her!

“I knew Prince Harry would be supportive like that because he is one of the guys, he has lived the military life and knows what it is all about.”

The Invictus Games is the only international sports event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. This year’s edition taking place from October 20-27.

The UK Team Trials – run by Help For Heroes with support from the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and the Endeavour Fund – finished at the weekend. More than 400 athletes have been competing for one of the 72 UK team places on offer.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.