The ongoing feud between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the British royal family is casting a shadow over the spirit of the 2023 Invictus Games. Athletes, who should be the center of attention during this event, find themselves in an unexpected and "bizarre" position due to the royal discord. An anonymous source revealed, "The athletes find it bizarre but don't want to get caught up in the royal crossfire."

The Invictus Games, a sporting event founded by Prince Harry for wounded combat veterans, has historically received support and attention from the royal family. However, this year, the tension between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the monarchy seems to be diverting the spotlight. Ben McBean, the inspiration behind the games, drew a parallel between the current situation and the sentiment during the Afghanistan war. He noted that while many didn't support the war, they supported the troops. McBean criticized the royals for not offering similar support to the former British troops competing in the Invictus Games. He remarked, "Saying that, they should have just given the lads a shout-out."

Senior members of the monarchy have faced criticism for their apparent lack of acknowledgment or attendance at the games. A media strategist pointed out the irony, stating, "It's ironic Buckingham Palace has had more to say about the Highland Games than the Invictus Games, despite the honorary military roles they hold." While the British Crown has been at the receiving end of much of the criticism, voices like McBean believe that "both sides" are responsible for the media's focus on the feud rather than the games themselves.

Prince Harry, despite his reduced presence at the 2022 Invictus Games due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, has been a prominent figure at the 2023 event. Athlete Rich Waldrom praised the Duke, saying, "We love him here. You'll never get a bad word out of any of us for Harry. Look what he's built. Look what he's created for us all."

Yet, no member of the royal family has publicly offered their support for the British athletes participating in the Invictus Games this year. Royal experts argue that senior royals typically do not involve themselves in other royal initiatives. For instance, it's hard to imagine Prince Harry praising Prince William's initiatives like Homewards or Earth Shot on social media, given the current state of their relationship. However, it's worth noting that senior members of the monarchy, including King Charles, Prince William, and Queen Camilla, have supported the Invictus Games in the past, with all attending the inaugural competition in 2014. Furthermore, the late Queen Elizabeth II even recorded a popular video with Harry for the 2016 games.

As the Invictus Games continue, it remains to be seen if the royal rift will further overshadow the event or if the focus will return to celebrating the resilience and achievements of the participating athletes.