Prince Harry surprised cinema-goers after he turned up at the California premiere of his new Netflix documentary.
The Duke of Sussex appeared to be in a good mood as he joked with the audience of veterans and their family members that it was ‘nice of you to dress up for the occasion’.
The 38-year-old came out to cheers from the crowd before they were shown two episodes of Heart of Invictus, his new series following veterans as they prepare for the Invictus Games – the sporting competition for wounded armed forces personnel he set up in 2014.
The showing, which took place at a cinema in Chula Vista in San Diego county on Monday night, is believed to have been arranged by Netflix and the prince’s organisation Archewell, Hello! reports.
After the screening he posed for pictures with theatre-goers, while the five-episode series is set for release on the streaming service this morning.
Harry joked it was ‘nice of you to dress up for the occasion’ as he looked out over the audience
Prince Harry posed for pictures with audience members after the premiere of a new Netflix series about the Invictus Games in California
They were produced as part of the Sussexes’ £80million deal with the streaming service which has already seen them release a documentary series called Harry & Meghan last year.
After walking down to the front of the screen in front of the cheering crowd Harry, who was dressed in a cream blazer and white shirt, joked: ‘Nice to see you all. It’s nice of you to dress up for the occasion. [No] Suits and ties?’
In footage posted on social media, he was seen adding: ‘I wanted to say a huge thank you for coming out tonight. You guys get to see Heart of Invictus, which has been the last two years in the making, sooner than anybody else.
‘It will be coming out on Wednesday, you guys get to watch it tonight – well, at least two episodes, to sort of whet the appetite for the rest of it.’
In a Reel posted on Instagram by @bonnie_pham, the Duke of Sussex could be heard talking about the sacrifices that service personnel and their families make while serving.
In the caption she wrote: ‘When it’s a random Monday night and Prince Harry crashes the premiere of his show in random Chula Vista.’
She commented afterwards: ‘What a show, what a man, what a special surprise! #heartofinvictus’
The Duke is an executive producer of the show and there is pressure for the series to be a ratings success after their deal with Spotify for Meghan’s Archetypes podcast ended after just one series this summer.
Their previous Netflix show Harry & Meghan, a documentary series about their relationship, saw them take swipes at the Royal Family and gave their view on Megxit which saw them leave the UK for California.
The Duke of Sussex was in a good mood, joking with the audience as he gave a short speech about the documentary
The Prince, pictured on stage during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games 2020, set up the event for wounded veterans
Harry, who recently appeared in Japan and Singapore for a charity and polo tour with his best friend Nacho Figueras, was front and centre of the promotional material for the new series.
In a trailer released by Netflix last month he could be heard saying: ‘It is here at Invictus Games that you realise – whatever you carry was the springboard that propelled you to the next level. The Games doesn’t focus on what causes the injury but the recovery and how to be part of a community again.’
Harry is pictured meeting competitors and his voice is heard saying ‘Everyone is going to struggle at some point’.
The new series is being released ahead of next month’s Invictus Games which are being held in Dusseldorf, Germany, from September 9.
Rita Ora will perform at the closing ceremony, where Harry is expected to give an emotional speech. Rita and Harry have been friends for years.
Harry and Meghan are set to attend the event, which he set up after being inspired by the Warrior Games in the United States.
The Duke of Sussex high-fives a veteran during the trailer for Netflix series the Heart of Invictus
The documentary, which follows veterans as they prepare for the Invictus Games, is being released today
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured here in Dusseldorf last September, are set to return to the German city next month for the Invictus Games
In a video message recorded in his Montecito mansion before he left for Japan, Harry insisted: ‘It’ll be the best games ever’. He also praised competitors for taking the next step on their ‘healing journey’, and insisted that the event, which he called a ‘home for respect’, is part of his own.
Grinning in the virtual call, he said: ‘I hope you are excited and probably a bit nervous. I’m both. But I can’t wait to see all of you and have the whole community together once again. It’s been too long’.
Addressing the athletes he said: ‘You’re all on different parts of your healing journey’ before adding: ‘We all are – we always will be’.
‘Good luck for the remaining few weeks, have fun, look forward to it. Being nervous is a good thing. We have 21 nations this year and can’t wait to have every continent represented. Except Antarctica – but still working on that’, he said, laughing.
‘Thank you for your service, for your commitment, your determination in getting to this point. We are going to have a lot of fun and yeah, look forward to it. We’re ready to host you. It’s going to be the best games ever, the best games yet’.
Harry will reportedly be in Dusseldorf for the entirety of the games, while Meghan is expected to attend around half of it, including her husband’s speech at the closing ceremony.
A source told the Rheinische Post that ‘this very emotional element is to be watched personally by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’.