In poignant scenes at Twickenham stadium today, Fijian members of the British Army rugby team kneeled before Prince Harry to show him the ultimate sign of respect before their annual grudge match against the Royal Navy.

Rugby fan Prince Harry belted out the National Anthem before the match which he attended as patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, a competition for wounded service men and women.

He then met the teams on the pitch at Twickenham, where the days of professional players kneeling down for royals has long been a thing of the past.

But in a touching sign of respect, the players from Commonwealth country Fiji bended the knee for as they met Prince Harry, as they do for any royal or head of state.


After the moving show of respect, the prince took his seat in the crowd where he jubilantly pulled faces as he took selfies on fans' smartphones.

The prince was joined by competitors from the 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games and some of those wounded soldiers hoping to be selected for the third games being staged in Toronto in the autumn.

Prince Harry takes a selfie with members of the Twickenham crowd. Photo / Getty Images.
Prince Harry takes a selfie with members of the Twickenham crowd. Photo / Getty Images.

Their friends and families were invited as the Invictus Games Foundation wants to recognise the vital contribution this close support network plays in a competitor's recovery journey.

At half-time a pitch side interview was carried out by 2014 Invictus Games competitor JJ Chalmers, as well as two-time former competitor and Toronto hopeful Scott Meenagh.

Harry told the 81,577-strong crowd, that the game featuring the Army and Navy plus the Twickenham spectators, as well as those watching on television at home, is a fantastic way for the "armed forces to come together".

Speaking about the growth of the Invictus Games, Harry said "more and more people are coming forward" and taking part, and stressed that "mental fitness is as important as physical fitness".

His nod to the importance of mental health comes weeks after he himself admitted that he was "on thew verge of punching someone" after failing to properly address the mental stress of losing his mother.

Today, he added: "What the Invictus Games shows is that no matter who you are, no matter what your background and no matter what your injuries, sport is there and is part of the recovery.

"Friends and family is so crucial to every single person recovering, that's why days like this and moments like these - we should cherish them."

As the interview came to an end, Harry could be heard turning to the pair and jokingly saying "to the bar?" before heading back to his south stand lower tier seat for the second half.

The Foundation was set up to pursue and develop the legacy of the Invictus Games and it manages the process of selecting hosts of future Games and overseeing their delivery.

Prince Harry met the Army and Navy teams before taking his seat.

The match at the stadium in south-west London is the final and deciding fixture in the Inter Services rugby competition, which also features an RAF team.

With the Army beating the Navy 29 to 20 respectively, at the end of the match Harry congratulated all of the players before he presented the Babcock Trophy to the triumphant team.