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Thrilled Meghan Markle joins Prince Harry in first public appearance at Invictus Games opening ceremony

Hannah Furness
Meghan Markle watches the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games in Toronto - REUTERS

Meghan Markle, the American actress, has made her first public appearance with Prince Harry, as she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony.

Sitting separately from the Prince, her boyfriend of more than a year, the actress clapped and cheered as he delivered the opening address for the Games in her home town of Toronto, Canada.

She appeared thrilled as he was praised on stage for setting up the Invictus Games, for wounded military veterans, and cheered enthusiastically as he enjoyed his big moment on stage.

Beginning his speech in French, she smothered a giggle as he faltered comically over the phrase: "Merci beaucoup pour votre hospitalité."

While Prince Harry was on official duties, sitting with Melania Trump, Justin Trudeau and other dignitaries, Ms Markle sat around 20 seats away from him and several rows down.

Meghan Markle attends the Invictus Games Opening Ceremonies in Toronto  Credit: Frank Gunn/AP

Wearing a purple jacket and maxi dress, she was in the company of Markus Anderson, previously described by Meghan as one of her "closest friends in the world" and said to have introduced her to Prince Harry.

Ms Markle stood for the Canadian national anthem, and was seen nodding emphatically as Justin Trudeau delivered a speech praising servicemen and women who "serve their country with passion and integrity".

Dancing in her seat to the music performances, she appeared particularly enamoured with two young hosts of the Games; children who compered sections of the event in the Toronto arena.

At one point, the Prince was seen glancing in her direction across the arena aisle, while one of his protection officers stood guard near the actress.

As soon as the Prince's opening speech was finished, Ms Markle left the arena immediately, making a quick getaway before the crowds.

Britain's Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games in Toronto Credit: Mark Blinch/Reuters

The Prince too made his exit from the main seats.

He had told Invictus competitors the games " is about the dedication of the men and women who served their countries, confronted hardship, and refused to be defined by their injuries."

He added: "Invictus is about the families and friends who faced the shock of learning that their loved ones had been injured or fallen ill - and then rallied to support them on their journey of recovery.

"And above all, Invictus is about the example to the world that all service men and women - injured or not - provide about the importance of service and duty."

Speaking directly to athletes, he told them:  "You have all come such a long way.

Meghan Markle watches the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games in Toronto Credit: Mark Glinch/Reuters

"Some of you have cheated death and come back stronger than before.

"Some of you have overcome emotional challenges that until very recent years would have seen you written off and ignored.

" And now you are here. On the world stage, flags on your chests, representing your countries again, supporting your teammates, and looking up into the stands, and into the eyes of your friends and families.

"You are all winners."

 The Invictus competition gets underway on Sunday with wheelchair tennis and athletics.

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