Melania Trump is set to take her biggest step yet as first lady. She's leading the US delegation to an international sporting event for wounded service members, her first solo trip outside the United States to represent her adopted country.

On the agenda for a daylong stop on Saturday 23 September in Toronto: a first-time meeting with Britain's Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games in 2014; a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; remarks at a reception for the nearly 100 American athletes participating in the week-long Olympic-style competition; and attending the opening ceremony.

Her decision to lead the American delegation, whose members include Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, professional golfer Nancy Lopez and entertainer Wayne Newton, reflects the first lady's "utmost respect" for the hard work, courage and sacrifice of the US military, said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs Trump.

"She feels strongly that they - and their families - should be honoured every day," Grisham said.
Grisham said Trump also has "great admiration for the role the games have played in empowering those who have been injured while serving".

At an event marking the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force, the first lady thanked the many members of the military who assisted thousands people whose lives were upended by recent hurricanes. A native of Slovenia who became a US citizen in 2006, Trump also thanked service members' families.

"You endure time apart, are expected to move when new orders come in, and face the uncertainty that can come in times of need," she said at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, before introducing President Donald Trump. "This kind of lifestyle requires its own kind of courage and your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated."

Melania Trump Prince Harry
Melania Trump will meet Prince Harry for the first time at the Invictus Games 2017 in Toronto, Canada Reuters

Trump has been slowly warming up to her new role, waiting to move to the White House until her 11-year-old son Barron finished the school year in New York and holding few public events of her own. She accompanied the president on his three overseas trips so far this year.

Prince Harry established the Invictus Games in 2014 for sick and wounded service members from around the world. More than 550 individuals from 17 countries are expected to participate in 12 sports during the week, ranging from cycling to wheelchair tennis to sitting volleyball.

London was the setting for the inaugural event in 2015, followed by Orlando, Florida, last year.
Mrs Trump's participation continues White House involvement with the games, which were launched during President Barack Obama's tenure.

Jill Biden, wife of then-Vice President Joe Biden, led the US delegation to London as part of a military initiative undertaken with then-first lady Michelle Obama, who helped open last year's competition in Orlando.