There were emotional scenes in Toronto on Tuesday (Sept. 26) as Prince Harry was reunited with war hero Mark Ormrod, after he won a silver medal at the Invictus Games. With a big smile, the Prince bent down and took Mark's hands in his own as he congratulated the athlete on his success in the indoor rowing competition. The two men chatted with a natural ease, and were seen laughing together before Harry posed for a photo with all of the medal winners. This was Mark's first Invictus Games win, and after receiving his medal he was able to celebrate with his wife Becky and their children, who had flown all the way from Plymouth to show their support. He was seen putting his son on his shoulders before the family made their way past Harry, whose admiration was clear as he applauded the athlete.
Mark, who served as a Royal Marine, lost an arm and both his legs at the age of 24 when he stepped on a mine during a routine patrol on Christmas Eve in 2007. He was the first triple amputee to survive the Afghanistan conflict. Mark and Harry first met in 2008 at Headley Court, where the soldier spent nine weeks recovering. He has previously revealed how Harry's own battlefield experience makes a big difference when it comes to service people. "He's been out there and he's seen and done it," he said. "They are both quite involved and they don't just sit on the sidelines. It makes a difference to us rather than having someone who hasn't experienced it, it makes them more genuine."
Kensington Palace shared photos and a video from Tuesday's Invictus reunion on its social media accounts, stating how proud Harry was to be able to present Mark with his medal. "One of the competitors tonight was the incredible Mark Ormrod, the UK's first triple amputee to survive the Afghanistan conflict," the caption read. "Prince Harry first met Mark in Headley Court in 2008 and tonight had the honour of presenting him with a silver Invictus Games medal. Mark was able to share the moment with his family."
Mark is taking part in the rowing, hand cycling and swimming events at the Toronto Invictus Games; he didn't compete in any of these sports prior to his injury, but has said the challenge is a huge milestone in his life. "The support since making the team has been phenomenal from everybody from my wife, my children from my friends, my family," he told the the Forces Network. "The support from other teammates has been incredible and the support from the UK public as well.
"My one regret is that I didn’t get into this a lot sooner, not just the Invictus Games but, prior to that, any kind of sport, because it’s had a profoundly positive impact on my recovery. I want to cap of this decade on a high."