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Prince Harry at the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023

Spectacular start to the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 as Macklemore & a Prince take the stage 

The Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 opened with star guest Macklemore raising the roof of the MERKUR SPIEL-ARENA, performing number one hits such as ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and ‘Thrift Shop’, to the delight of the crowd. Macklemore’s songs and messages of strength, hope and bravery created a fitting soundtrack for the Opening Ceremony.

‘It is a great honour to perform at an event with such an important cause as the Invictus Games.’ 


Macklemore performing at the Opening ceremony of the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023
Macklemore performing at the Opening ceremony of the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023

From the beginning of the show, the arena rocked as all 21 nations, led by their flag bearers, marched into ”A Home for Respect” with the biggest cheers going to Ukraine; returning nations Jordan and New Zealand who missed the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic; new nations of Colombia, Israel, and Nigeria; and of course, Australia!

Over 500 competitors from the nations were welcomed to the venue by the Mayor of Düsseldorf, Dr. Stephan Keller and Ziad Ojakli, Executive Vice President Boeing Government Operations.

The tone of the show was set by the founder of the Invictus Games, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, with a touching welcome speech.

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex at the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games 2023
DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 09: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex onstage during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 on September 09, 2023 in Düsseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Joshua Sammer/2023 Getty Images)

Whether competitor or spectator, you will all take so much away from these Games. There are endless opportunities to have your lives touched and hearts opened. The energy alone is palpable and contagious.

Lean into it and keep it close. Let it inspire the limitless in you.
Remember you are not only watching or participating in sport but experiencing the magic of the human spirit – learning first hand from those who live not bound by their journey but instead freed by it.”

Prince Harry

The Duke of Sussex

The combined Australian team of 31 serving and former serving military personnel along with around 80 of their family and friends enjoyed the full show of live music, Parade of Nations, stunning performances and moving stories to mark the start of the Games that run from 9-16 September 2023.

Lenny Redrose, an Australian Army Veteran from Melbourne, proudly held the Aussie flag, and led the team into the stadium. 

Team Australia IG23 Lenny Redrose Flag Bearer

Earlier in the day, the Invictus Games Foundation (IGF) hosted the IGF Conversation. Entitled ‘The Invictus Community: Enabling a Home for Respect’, the conversation emphasised the common ground between the military and their respective societies around the world, and how they can both support and learn from each other. 

It was summed up perfectly by one guest who said, ‘The Invictus Games is a big village, for the village.’

It was wonderful to hear from former Invictus Australia Veteran Engagement Manager Rachel Kerrigan, an Invictus Games Alum herself.  Kerrigan was there to speak about the power of sport in recovery and rehabilitation.

Kerrigan said, “The Invictus Games was the start of that self discovery and that movement forward and it had one of the biggest impacts on my life because I was agrophobic, I didn’t have anyone else in my life, my daughter didn’t have anyone else in her life, and we found our family. We found people who supported us, friends I still have now from countries all around the world. They celebrate everything you do, and if you fall down they’re there to catch you, and that was just life changing for me.”

This is who I am, this is who I want to be. I’ve learnt to love myself, I learnt to know there are all these challenges out there, but if I face every single one of them and face that fear factor, who knows what life is going to be like?”

rachel kerrigan

invictus games alum

Rachel Kerrigan at the IGF Conversation
Rachel Kerrigan at the IGF Conversation

Competition kicks off on Sunday, starting with the Aussie favourite wheelchair rugby as well as powerlifting and athletics. The 31 members of Team Australia can’t wait to get out there, do their best and soak up the incredible atmosphere unique to an Invictus Games.   

The Invictus Games is an international, adaptive multi-sports competition for serving and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service. Team Australia is delivered in partnership between Invictus Australia and the Australian Defence Force, and consists of 31 competitors.  

Düsseldorf is the sixth city to host the Invictus Games, following The Hague in 2022, Sydney in 2018, Toronto in 2017, Orlando in 2016 and London in 2014.   

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where to watch

From Saturday, 9 September, all competitions of INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be streamed for free and without login on the German website ( and YouTube channel (

To keep up to date and see exclusive behind the scenes content from Team Australia’s journey make sure you are following us on all social channels.  
Facebook: @InvictusAustralia 
Twitter: @InvictusAus 
Instagram: @InvictusAustralia  
TikTok: @InvictusAustralia 
Youtube: @InvictusAustralia  
LinkedIn: @InvictusAustralia 

About Invictus Australia: Invictus Australia encourages veterans and their families to connect and engage with their communities through sport. Whether participating or volunteering at grassroots level, to competing internationally at an Invictus or Warrior Games, Invictus Australia leverages the power of sport to proactively foster good health and aid in recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Invictus Australia promotes the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport for all, and shine a light on the unique needs of younger veterans, particularly the challenges associated with transitioning from military to civilian life.

About the Invictus Games: The 2023 Invictus Games takes place from the 9th – 16th September in Dusseldorf, Germany. Invictus Australia, in partnership with the Australian Defence Force, are supporting 31 former and current serving competitors as part of Team Australia. The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for serving and former serving military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service. Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, is the Patron of the Invictus Games. The Games uses the healing power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and celebrate the crucial role played by family and friends.

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