Prince Harry takes to the ice: Duke recreates Queen’s ceremonial first puck drop at Canucks vs Sharks clash in Vancouver ahead of the Invictus Games – as he makes surprise appearance with Meghan

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a surprise visit to a NHL ice hockey game last night where the Duke of Sussex dropped the first puck – just like his grandmother the Queen did two decades ago.

The California-based couple watched the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 from a VIP box at the Rogers Arena, at one point watching the action while cuddling.

Also with them was Markus Anderson, a friend of Meghan’s from Toronto when they she was filming Suits who helped organise her first date with Harry in London. 

Harry’s ceremonial puck drop came 21 years after the late Queen did the same when the same teams played each in 2002. She was on an 11-day tour in Canada in honour of her Golden Jubilee.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in Canada for work to promote the next Invictus Games, which will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025.

Their visit came a week after a whistleblower told MailOnline that the Games is in ‘turmoil’ after two of its most senior executives were ‘dismissed for no apparent reason’ with just over a year to go. 

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex drops the puck during a ceremonial face-off with Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks and Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks prior to their NHL game last night

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex drops the puck during a ceremonial face-off with Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks and Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks prior to their NHL game last night

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex get cosy in their box at the Rogers Arena last night

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex get cosy in their box at the Rogers Arena last night

Meghan Markle celebrates at the NHL game in Canada - a country very important to her and Harry as it where they began courting. Her friend Markus Anderson is with her. He was the man who organised the Sussexes' first date

Meghan Markle celebrates at the NHL game in Canada – a country very important to her and Harry as it where they began courting. Her friend Markus Anderson is with her. He was the man who organised the Sussexes’ first date

The Queen drops the puck in 2002 when the same teams played on her Golden Jubilee tour

The Queen drops the puck in 2002 when the same teams played on her Golden Jubilee tour 

Meghan has long been associated with the Soho House properties due to her long-standing friendship with Markus Anderson, the lifestyle club chain’s Chief Membership Officer.

Mr Anderson was also at the Canucks game last night, at one point standing with the Duchess of Sussex to cheer the team.

It was Anderson who arranged a private room at Soho House in London for the Montecito-based couple’s first date, while Meghan threw a low-key hen night ahead of her 2018 wedding at Soho Farmhouse in Chipping Norton, UK.

Originally, he invited her to join Soho House when she was still a TV soap actress in Toronto, and it was Markus who facilitated all of Harry and Meghan’s early dates in London and Oxfordshire.

Markus is very good friends with New York-based fashion designer Misha Nonoo, who is said to have introduced Meghan and Harry to each other.

Both Markus and Misha spent time with the royal newlyweds, staying for extended stretches with them in the UK, before Megxit.

The Invictus Games will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in February 2025 and will feature winter sports for the first time. 

MailOnline exclusively revealed last week that CEO Peter Lawless, a lawyer and arguably Canada’s most respected Olympic and Paralympic administrator, left his job abruptly.

An insider has claimed that Mr Lawless, who was awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal by Harry’s grandmother the Queen in 2012, was fired and morale amongst staff is now ‘at an all time low’. An Invictus Games spokesman declined to comment on whether he was sacked, instead saying he had been ‘transitioned out’ and was ‘no longer an employee’ but will remain an ambassador.

Also leaving the Vancouver-Whistler team is Bill Cooper, who was in the role of Chief Commercial Officer for ten months until he left in October. He has thanked colleagues for their support after several praised his ‘grace’ and accused Invictus 2025 of making a big mistake by getting rid of him.

One Games volunteer said that staff are ‘concerned that these recent moves will again overshadow this incredible event for our veterans’. They also raised concerns that the Sussexes’ security and other costs may put a strain on Games finances if Invictus 2025 has to pick up the bill.

It came just two months after Harry and Meghan turned on the charm at a reception thrown by the Canadian delegation to promote the 2025 Invictus Games.

The Duchess of Sussex, 42, chatted with members of the committee that will be organising the games to be held in Vancouver – a city they know well having fled there in 2019 after quitting royal life.

Meghan has close friends in the city and holds great affection for Canada having lived in Toronto while she was filming the series ‘Suits’.

The couple are very familiar with Vancouver having temporarily moved there in 2019 when they split from the royal family.

They stayed on Vancouver Island at a £14m home in North Saanich, British Columbia, following their decision to step back from being working members of the royal family.

The split was termed ‘Megxit’ and the couple stayed in Canada several months before relocating to Montecito in California. Meghan chatted with many of the competitors who have taken part in the events in Dusseldorf.

And for the first-time adaptive winter sports including alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and curling will be included in the programme of weeklong events and staged in the resort of Whistler.

It is not yet clear if Invictus 2025 is looking for a new CEO and Chief Commercial Officer.



Post source: Daily mail

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