Prince Harry's actress girlfriend Meghan Markle joined him at the opening of the Invictus Games, the first time she has attended an official engagement with the royal.

Although the couple were not seated together at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, she was sat just a few feet away from the Queen's grandson, who was accompanied by US First Lady Melania Trump, according to Daily Mail.

Wearing a purple dress and a matching US$690 Mackage leather jacket slung over her shoulders, she was escorted by her close friend Markus Anderson who introduced her to Prince Harry last year.

Meghan Markle, top right, attends the Invictus Games Opening Ceremonies in Toronto. Photo / AP
Meghan Markle, top right, attends the Invictus Games Opening Ceremonies in Toronto. Photo / AP

Her low key presence marks the first time she has joined the Royal for an official event and will intensify speculation that an engagement announcement is imminent.

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Harry, seated a quarter of a stadium away, occupied a VIP box alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US First Lady Melania Trump and Ukraine's President Poroshenko.

Because they are not engaged, royal protocol dictates that Harry and Meghan cannot sit next to one another at official events.

The distance - 18 seats and four rows - did nothing to dampen the actress's excitement or pride. She beamed as Harry gave an inspiring and humble speech on stage during which he told the 550 athletes gathered: "You are all winners. You are invictus."

Before she took her seat, the First Lady met with Trudeau, his glamorous wife Sophie and his children Ella-Grace and Xavier.

Trump spoke to Sophie first, saying: "It's good to see you. I saw you a few days ago."

She then chatted briefly to Trudeau about the couple's children before telling him that her son Barron had spent the day playing soccer.

Markle, although American born, currently resides in Toronto where she films the US legal drama Suits.

US First Lady Melania Trump, Britain's Prince Harry and Canada's Governor-General David Johnston attend the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto. Photo / AP
US First Lady Melania Trump, Britain's Prince Harry and Canada's Governor-General David Johnston attend the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto. Photo / AP

She has been dating the prince since July last year when they were introduced by her "best friend" Anderson, a consultant for the Soho House Group and former global membership director at the exclusive club where he worked his way up from being a waiter to the right-hand man of founder Nick Jones.

Prince Harry, 32, was introduced to his girlfriend at Soho House in London and is believed to have attended a masked Halloween ball at Soho House in Toronto while secretly visiting Markle at her home last year.

Markle could be seen clapping enthusiastically when the UK team entered the auditorium, although Harry got to his feet.

Intriguingly, particularly as she is not entitled to British taxpayer funded police protection, one of Harry's Scotland Yard security officers could be seen hidden away in a stairwell close to where Markle was seated.

Presumably he had been stationed there to whisk her away as soon as the opening show had ended.

The actress appeared to be aware of the cameras, sitting with enormous poise in her seat, often whispering and giggling with Anderson.

It did nothing to distract her when Harry took to the stage. She was seen laughing as he cracked a joke with Captain Trevor Greene; a retired soldier who was terribly injured in Afghanistan in 2006.

Markle smiled broadly and clapped enthusiastically as her boyfriend was shown live on a screen in the auditorium and thanked for creating the inspiring Invictus Games concept.

Following Greene onto the stage, Harry began his speech by recapping the story of his flight home from Afghanistan in 2008 when he was joined on the plane by three injured British soldiers and the body of a Dane killed in action.

He went on to decry the "cynical, apathetic" world, telling the audience at the Air Canada Centre: "We can all win when we respect our friends, neighbours and communities."

Britain's Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto. Photo / AP
Britain's Prince Harry speaks during the opening ceremonies of the Invictus Games in Toronto. Photo / AP

Talking about host city Toronto, he said: "More sports, more nations, more friends and families, more fans watching than ever before. We have the biggest crowd that Invictus has ever had."

Watched by Markle, who looked on intently throughout, Harry ended the speech with a call to action, telling the assembled athletes: "You are all winners. You are Invictus. Let's get started."

From their vantage point, Harry and Trump had a perfect view of the stage, which was festooned with black and yellow Invictus logos, at the Air Canada Canada Centre.

The show itself kicked off late at approximately 8pm EST with a fanfare and welcome before the Parade of Nations, featuring all 550 athletes, commenced.

Along with members of the Canadian military, other performers at the musical extravaganza include singers Sarah McLachlan and Alessia Cara and folk band La Bottine Souriante [the smiling boot].

The Invictus Games, now in its third edition, was started in 2014 by Prince Harry and was inspired by the USA's Warrior Games.

Competitors are drawn from 17 countries, including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, with the US alone sending 90 athletes. All are former or serving members of the military, many of whom suffered life-changing injuries during combat.

Other countries taking part in this year's event include France, Germany, Estonia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Italy. Servicemen and women from Ukraine, the Netherlands, Denmark and New Zealand will also compete.

Earlier in the day, Harry became the first member of the Royal Family to meet a Trump since last year's Presidential Election.

Trump and Harry spent less than 30 minutes together before the royal left for another engagement - the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge.

First Lady of the United States Melania Trump, Prince Harry, Canada Governor--General David Johnston and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (bottom right) attend the opening ceremony. Photo / Getty Images
First Lady of the United States Melania Trump, Prince Harry, Canada Governor--General David Johnston and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (bottom right) attend the opening ceremony. Photo / Getty Images

Despite its brevity, the meeting appeared cordial with the pair warmly shaking hands before settling down to talk in a room at the Sheraton Hotel.

Harry initially appeared awkward when he was introduced to the Slovenian former model, smiling brightly for the cameras before letting it drop as he turned away.

The pair then engaged in small talk with Trump thanking the prince for coming before he asked her if she had been in Canada long.

Later, 33-year-old Harry gushed over the Canadian city during a brief meeting with outgoing Governor-General David Johnston.

Toronto has won a special place in the prince's heart since he began dating Markle who keeps a home there.

Harry, who has spent quiet weekends there with his girlfriend and her dogs, told Johnston it had become a "home away from home" for him.

"It's always fantastic to be here," he said. Asked by the Governor-General about the Invictus Games Harry said: They have just grown and grown. I'd like them to go on for 50 years if I could.'

Mr Johnston is standing down at the end of the month after seven years in the job to be replaced by businesswoman and former astronaut Julie Payette, who last week met the Queen at Balmoral.

During their formal meeting earlier in the day, Harry and the US First Lady then settled down to discuss the Invictus Games' success.