Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Surprise Crowd at Vancouver Canucks Game — and Harry Takes the Ice!

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Surprise Crowd at Vancouver Canucks Game — and Harry Takes the Ice!
The surprise outing comes ahead of the next Invictus Games in Vancouver and Whistler

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex drops the puck during a ceremonial face-off with Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks and Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks prior to their NHL game at Rogers Arena on November 20, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Prince Harry (center) drops the a ceremonial puck between Quinn Hughes #43 of the Vancouver Canucks and Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks. PHOTO: DEREK CAIN/GETTY

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped out in Canada on Monday night as they made a surprise appearance at the Vancouver Canucks hockey game.

The Duke of Sussex made the ceremonial first puck drop as he took the ice ahead of the match-up between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks. He and Meghan then took in the game from their box seats.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in Canada ahead of the next Invictus Games, which will be held in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025. Harry, a former captain in the British Army, founded the international adaptive sports tournament for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans in 2014.

Harry’s moment on the ice comes 21 years after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, made her own ceremonial puck drop (also at a Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks game!). The late monarch visited Vancouver while on an 11-day tour in Canada in honor of her Golden Jubilee at the time.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (L) prepares to receive the ceremonial puck presented to her by former Edmonton Oilers and general manager of the men’s Olympic hockey team Wayne Gretzky (R), 06 October 2002, in Vancouver, Canada. Gretzky accompanied Queen Elizabeth II to center ice for the ceremonial puck drop prior to the Vancouver Canucks game against the San Jose Sharks. The queen is on an 11-day visit to Canada. AFP
Not only are Vancouver and Whistler close to Harry and Meghan following their move to Montecito, California, but Vancouver is also a special spot for their family. Before stepping back from their royal roles in 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent their first holiday season as a family of three in 2019 with son Prince Archie on Vancouver Island.

Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, reacts during the NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on November 20, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Meghan Markel reacts during the NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on November 20. DEREK CAIN/GETTY
Meghan Markle Gives Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet a Shout Out When Asked About Holiday Traditions
The couple received an especially warm welcome at the Invictus Games in Sydney in 2018, days after Kensington Palace announced she was pregnant with Archie.

Exclusively speaking to PEOPLE about the Invictus Games The Hague in 2022 (which was bumped back from 2020 due to the pandemic), Prince Harry touched on the key role Invictus has played in his journey with Meghan.

“There is nowhere you can feel more embraced and supported than with the Invictus family,” Prince Harry said at the time. “The Toronto Games were our first time out and about publicly in an official way. We were dating at the time, so it was a lot to take in, but fortunately, we were with the perfect community for that.

Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, reacts during the NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on November 20, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Meghan Markle watches the NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on November 20. DEREK CAIN/GETTY
“Now, five years later, here we are in The Hague at the fifth Invictus Games, as parents of two, and living in the U.S.,” he continued, referring to son Prince Archie and daughter Princess Lilibet, 2, who born in 2021 following the family’s U.S. move in 2020.

“I had always wanted to share these incredible moments with someone special, and to have Meg by my side means everything,” Prince Harry told PEOPLE.

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VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 20: Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex steps onto the ice for a ceremonial face-off prior to the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks NHL game at Rogers Arena on November 20, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Prince Harrysteps onto the ice for a ceremonial face-off prior to the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks NHL game on November 20. DEREK CAIN/GETTY
While it was previously announced that the 2023 Invictus Games would be held in Düsseldorf, Germany (and coincided with Prince Harry’s 39th birthday in September!), the Duke of Sussex revealed at The Hague (which was the subject of Heart of Invictus, now streaming on Netflix) that the seventh Invictus tournament would be held in Canada.

Following cycles in London (2014), Orlando (2016), Toronto (2017) and Sydney (2018), plus the Netherlands and Germany, the competition in Canada in 2025 will be the first time the Invictus Games have returned to a previous host country.

The Invictus Games in Vancouver-Whistler will also be the first to incorporate winter adaptive sports in addition to some of the core sports from previous Invictus Games.

Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex, celebrate a Vancouver Canucks goal during the third period of the NHL game against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on November 20, 2023 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry celebrate a Vancouver Canucks goal during the third period of the NHL game against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Arena on November 20. DEREK CAIN/GETTY
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“As Invictus continues to adapt and evolve, I am extremely excited to announce that the Invictus Games Foundation has selected Canada to host the first-ever Winter Hybrid Games in 2025,” Prince Harry said in a statement around the news.

“The Invictus Games Vancouver-Whistler 2025 will offer a global platform to expand the range and profile of winter adaptive sports. With deep respect, I’m also pleased to share that the Games in Canada will be held in partnership with the First Nations, in the spirit of truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities,” he added of the plans.

Harry meghan invictus dusseldorf duesseldorf germany 09 12 23
Meghan Markle and Prine Harry at the 2023 Invictus Games in Germany.
As for whether Archie and Lili will tag along? Only time will tell!

“We can’t wait to bring our kids also so they can experience just how awesome this is,” Meghan said in a speech at the latest Invictus Games in Germany.
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