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First Lady Attends Invictus Games (Photos)

Melania Trump Announces First Solo Trip Promo Image

First lady Melania Trump left the U.S. on Sept. 23 to lead the country's delegation to the 2017 Invictus Games. 

The trip marks Melania's first trip abroad as first lady unaccompanied by her husband, President Donald Trump. CNN reported on the first lady's plan to attend the games in July.

"In just two short years, the Invictus Games have allowed thousands of injured and wounded servicemen and women from many different countries to participate in adaptive sports competitions -- something that should be lauded and supported worldwide," she said in a statement regarding the trip. "I am honored by the opportunity to represent our country at this year's games."

The delegation to the games also included Veterans Affairs Secretary David Sulking, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and U.S. Embassy Ottawa Charge d'Affaires Elizabeth Moore Aubin.

Gold Star mother Karen Kelly, professional golfer Nancy Lopez and entertainer Wayne Newton were also part of the delegation.

Upon arriving in Toronto -- where the games will take place from Sept. 23-30 -- Melania met with Prince Harry of Great Britain, who established the games in 2014. 

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The first lady's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said the two had a conversation that lasted about 20 minutes, during which Melania invited the prince to visit the White House if he ever visits the U.S. 

Prince Harry, who himself is a military veteran and served two tours in Afghanistan, established the games for sick and injured veterans from around the world, reports The Associated Press. The Olympic-style games include several sports, among them cycling, wheelchair tennis and sitting volleyball. 

The inaugural games took place in London in 2015. They were later held in Orlando, Florida, in 2016. Jill Biden, the wife of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, led the London delegation in 2015, and former first lady Michelle Obama helped open the games in 2016. 

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At least 550 people from 17 countries are expected to compete in the third Invictus Games.

On Sept. 23, Melania also attended a Team USA reception for the nearly 100 athletes competing in the games.

"On behalf of my husband and our entire country, I want to thank you and your families for all you have sacrificed to keep us safe," she said. "I also want to wish you good luck, though I know you won't need it in these games. Take that fighting spirit that I know you have and bring home the gold."

Before the Invictus Games' opening ceremonies, Melania also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family. During the opening ceremonies, Melania sat with Prince Harry in a VIP box, standing when both the U.S. and Canadian teams were introduced.

Sources: CNN (2), AP via Houston Chronicle, Invictus Games Foundation / Featured Image: The White House/Flickr / Embedded Images: Betsy Klein/Twitter

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