Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have joined the Australian Prime Minister at a London reception ahead of the Invictus Games in Sydney later this year.
Harry and his bride-to-be will meet servicemen and women from both Britain and Australia, some of whom have previously competed in the international sporting event.
The couple will also learn more about preparations for this year’s games at the reception hosted by Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy at Australia House on Saturday.
More than 500 competitors – made up of sick and injured military and veterans – from 18 nations are expected to compete at the Invictus Games in Sydney between October 20 and 27.
It is expected Harry, who is patron of the Invictus Games Foundation which oversees the delivery of the tournament, will travel to Australia for the event with Ms Markle, who will by then be his wife.
When Toronto hosted the Paralympic-style event last year the former Suits star, who at the time was living and working in the city, attended the opening and closing ceremonies and visited competitors with Harry.
The trip to Sydney is also likely to see the couple embark on their Commonwealth duties, meeting young Australians to discuss issues close to their hearts after Prince Harry was appointed youth ambassador.
Servicemen and women at the Invictus launch praised Prince Harry for changing lives ahead of this year’s Games in Sydney.
Gareth Paterson, from Newcastle, who is leaving the army after 24 years’ service, said: “You can’t really fault the guy, he puts in so much effort.
“He genuinely cares about everyone he meets and remembers who people are.”
Mr Paterson, who suffers from an autoimmune disease which fuses the spine, competed at the Orlando and Toronto Invictus Games, winning three gold medals in archery.
Jo Hursey, 42, from Herefordshire, who knows Harry from her 23 years in the army, said: “I don’t think he realises how many lives he’s changed.
“He’s changed mine for the better.”
The 42-year-old said she tried to persuade Ms Markle – who wore a green dress by Self-Portrait and an Alexander McQueen blazer – to try out “sitting volleyball”, saying the former Suits actress seemed keen.
In a speech, Mr Turnbull said the competitors would get the “respect and recognition they so thoroughly deserve”.
He said: “It will be a formidable contest. Five hundred athletes … will all be competing in a country and a city which will applaud them for their service and cheers them on to greater heights.”
He said the spirit of the games was embodied by people like Curtis McGrath, a young Australian combat medic who lost both legs in Afghanistan before winning the canoeing Paralympic gold in Rio de Janeiro two years ago.
Chelsea Pensioner Marjorie Cole, who taught cooking in the Women’s Royal Army Corps for around 15 years, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic what Harry is doing for disabled veterans.
“It’s brought them to the forefront despite what they’ve gone through.
“I was at the first Invictus Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and it was something I’ll never forget.”
The prince recognised Ms Cole in the hall and stopped for a chat, with the 73-year-old later saying: “He’s very charming and said ‘nice to see you again’. I’m thrilled for him and Meghan.”
Asked if she would be flying out to Sydney, Ms Cole replied: “I’ve got to win the lottery first.”
Sydney is the fourth city to host the Games, after London in 2014, Orlando in 2016, and Toronto in 2017.