The U.K. and the U.S. Are Locked In a Bidding War to Host Prince Harry’s Invictus Games in 2027

Will the home country of his past or his current home country take the crown?

Prince Harry at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The U.K. has put in a bid to host the 2027 Invictus Games—and, depending on who you ask, this could be the moment of reunification between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the rest of the royal family, or further proof of its divisiveness.

“Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could return to the U.K. if Britain hosts the Invictus Games—offering the royals a chance to reunite for the first time in years,” Tatler writes. But even before that, Harry is expected to be in his home country next month to mark the Invictus Games’ tenth anniversary since its formation in 2014; he is scheduled to speak at St. Paul’s Cathedral (interestingly, where his parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, married in 1981) on May 8. Meghan is also “listed as a guest” for the event, and The Daily Express reports that “Both Harry and Meghan are listed as guests and a speech has been scheduled, but there is still a question mark over whether Meghan will make an appearance,” a source said. “Her name has been penciled in as a TBC [to be confirmed].” 

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

Harry and Meghan at the 2022 Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands

(Image credit: Getty)

Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a multi-sport event for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and servicewomen, both veterans and those actively serving. When Harry launched the Games 10 years ago—the last time it was held in the U.K.—King Charles (then Prince Charles) and the Prince and Princess of Wales (then the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) were on hand with Harry for the opening ceremony.

Queen Camilla, Prince William, and Prince Harry

William, Camilla, Charles, and Harry at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in 2014 in London

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But much has changed in the decade since, and, according to The Telegraph, Harry and Meghan have noted that the royal family haven’t publicly supported the Games in a number of years, despite its growing stature. Since 2014, the Games have traveled to Orlando, Florida in 2016; Toronto, Canada (where Harry and Meghan made their public debut as a couple in 2017); Sydney, Australia in 2018; The Hague, Netherlands in 2022; and, most recently, Dusseldorf, Germany, last September. The Games will next be in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada in 2025. Since the Games’ iteration, it has become a popular global sports competition, which 22 countries and more than 500 athletes have been involved with.

But The Daily Mail reports that the royal family could be put in a “difficult position” if Birmingham wins the Invictus Games bid for 2027, adding that it could cause tension. “It is an incredibly important piece of work for Prince Harry and one of his last remaining legacies from when he was a full-time working royal—and one which he feels very proud of,” the outlet reports. “The Games also allow him to reconnect with fellow military veterans.” 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the 2023 Invictus Games

The Sussexes at the Closing Ceremony for the 2023 Games in Dusseldorf, Germany

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The royal family would have to decide how much it will support Harry and the Games, and Harry and Meghan will have to decide whether they are comfortable bringing their kids, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, after losing police protection in the U.K.

Though William and Kate were key figures in establishing the Games and were reportedly “delighted that it has been a success,” The Daily Mail reports that “Given current disagreements in the royal family, it is perhaps not likely that the Waleses will watch the games with the Sussexes.” 

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

Much can change in three years, but it's currently unlikely that the Waleses and the Sussexes would take in the Games together if they came to the U.K. in 2027.

(Image credit: Getty)

The U.K. is currently up against Washington, D.C.—interestingly, the capital of Harry’s new home country, the U.S.—to host the Games, and the U.K. government has pledged 26 million pounds towards the campaign. Veterans minister Johnny Mercer co-hosted a symposium in London to get further private funding to help with the U.K.’s bid to host the Games in Birmingham in three years’ time, and said of the Games that “The vision the Duke of Sussex had to see that a decade ago had almost single-handedly transformed the lives of thousands of veterans, not only in the U.K. but globally, with up to 22 nations now involved in this incredible legacy. So yes, I want the Games.”

Mercer commended the power of the Invictus Games and of sport to transform the lives of those injured by service in both body and mind. “I want the Games because you actually have to be there to feel that incredible transformative power of the Invictus Games in these people’s lives being built,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether the U.K. or the U.S. will win the bid for 2027, but we’ll, of course, keep you posted as we learn more.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.