Pete Buttigieg To Join Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Invictus Games

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg will lead the U.S delegation to Prince Harry's Invictus Games, the White House announced on Wednesday.

Buttigieg is to represent President Joe Biden as the head of the delegation traveling to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games events, running April 16-22.

The statement released by the White House reads: "President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to The Netherlands to attend the Fifth Invictus Games on April 16, 2022 in The Hague. The Honorable Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, will lead the delegation."

Pete Buttigeig and Prince Harry Meghan Markle
President Joe Biden has named Pete Buttigieg head of the U.S presidential delegation to Prince Harry's Invictus Games held in the Netherlands this month. Buttigieg (L) photographed at a press conference December 16, 2020. And Harry with Meghan (R) photographed in New York, September 23, 2021. Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images/Gotham/GC Images

Also part of the U.S delegation will be Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Donald M. Remy and Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones.

Buttigieg's husband, Chasten Buttigieg, with whom he has two children, will also be making the journey to the Netherlands, according to reporting by MSNBC.

The announcement comes days after it was confirmed via a spokesperson that Meghan Markle would be traveling to The Hague, Netherlands to accompany her husband for the "first few days" of the Invictus Games events.

Meghan and Harry have attended the last two games together, their first in 2017 being one of their earliest joint appearances as a couple. The 2020 games in the Netherlands had to be postponed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Buttigieg's meeting with Harry and Meghan comes after a 2020 speech he gave to voters in Iowa following the Sussex's announcement that they were stepping away from the royal family and moving to America.

"I don't know if you've been following the news about the royal family," he said, reported by The Hill. "I was thinking how through most of human history the process of deciding who was going to govern a country or a people involved family, involved inheritance, involved a lot of murder and mayhem.

"Here in the United States, in modern times, it involves something different. It involves the process of deciding where our country will be headed and where our government will be headed involves coming to communities, looking people in the eye, and asking them to caucus for you, and explaining why, I think, in our troubled and turbulent times, it's good to remember that that is a much better way of deciding on the future of our country, rather than what most of human history has been about."

Both Buttigieg and Meghan made important contributions to the dialogue around parental leave in October 2021 as the duchess published a letter in support of paid family leave at the same time Buttigieg was welcoming his two children. Buttigieg's decision to take paternity leave provoked criticism, with Fox News host Tucker Carlson telling his audience: "Paternity leave, they call it, trying to figure out how to breastfeed."

In her letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Meghan wrote: "I'm not an elected official, and I'm not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent. And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that's why I'm writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave."

Meghan was accused of having political ambitions and for "using her royal title to meddle in U.S politics" by the Daily Mail at the time of the letter's release.

The Invictus Games was founded by Prince Harry in 2014 to provide a platform for wounded, sick or injured servicemen and women to showcase their mental and physical strength. The U.S has had a strong involvement with the games since its creation.

The inaugural games was held in 2014 in London and in 2016, Orlando, Florida acted as the host city. That year then-first lady Michelle Obama attended the opening ceremony, this was followed in 2017 by then-first lady Melania Trump attending the opening ceremony of the Toronto games.

Buttigieg's appointment as head of the U.S Invictus Games 2022 delegation marks the fifth year that the country will participate in the games alongside 19 other nations and over 500 athletes. Other guests who have confirmed their attendance include King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and his aunt Princess Margriet.

It has now been announced that the host city for the 2023 games will be Düsseldorf, Germany.

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