Prince Harry
Prince Harry made the ceremonial puck drop at a Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks game in Canada on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. Vancouver Canucks/X

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped out in Canada on Monday, November 20, for a surprise appearance at the Vancouver Canucks game where the duke made the ceremonial first puck drop .

The 39-year-old royal, dressed casually for the visit, took the ice ahead of the match between the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks. The Duke of Sussex followed in his grandmother's footsteps when she did the ceremonial puck drop of her own 21 years ago in October 2002 also for a Canucks and Sharks game.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky presented the Queen with the ceremonial puck and the crowd erupted into cheers. She was welcomed to the sound of trumpets and the sound of hockey sticks hitting the ice as the players cheered.

The monarch, carrying her trusty black purse, then stepped onto the ice and dropped the puck. She then walked to the royal box to watch the first period of the match. Queen Elizabeth II was in Vancouver as part of her 11-day tour of Canada in honour of her Golden Jubilee.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry was greeted with a round of applause as his name was called and he approached the ice. He then did a fist bump with Vancouver Canucks captain Quinn Hughes and San Jose Sharks captain Tomáš Hertl. The trio posed for photos before the royal dropped the puck. He then exchanged a few words with the team captains before he joined Meghan Markle to watch the game from their box seats. They were caught on video cheering as Canucks scored two points.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's visit to Canada is in honour of the next Invictus Games, which will take place in Vancouver and Whistler from February 6 to 17, 2025.

"The Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 will host the first winter adaptive sports programme at the Invictus Games. The 2025 games will offer the Invictus community the chance to compete and experience a world-class winter sports programme of alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, skeleton, and wheelchair curling," the Invictus Games announced on its website.

Whistler, a world-famous winter resort with unparalleled facilities, will host the winter sports, while the indoor sports programme will happen at Vancouver's top venues all within a 10 kilometer radius of each other.

"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 about the 2025 Invictus Games. He also announced that the event is held "in partnership with the First Nations, in the spirit of truth and reconciliation with indigenous communities".

Canada holds a special meaning for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. It is where they debuted as a couple at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, where the duchess lived at the time for the filming of "Suits".

"There is nowhere you can feel more embraced and supported than with the Invictus family. The Toronto Games were our first time out and about publicly in an official way," the duke said of the role the Invictus Games played in his journey with Meghan Markle during an interview at the Games in The Hague in 2022.

He looked back: "We were dating at the time, so it was a lot to take in, but fortunately, we were with the perfect community for that. 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." Prince Harry said he had "always wanted to share these incredible moments with someone special" and having Meghan Markle by his side "means everything". The Sussexes are now parents to Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two.