Prince Harry reignited his friendship with former US President Barack Obama today as the pair attended a wheelchair basketball match at the Invictus Games in Toronto together.
The 33-year-old royal has met the politician on several occasions previously and struck up a warm friendship with him and wife Michelle.
Both men were casually dressed at the Pan Am Centre as they took their seats to watch a fast-paced match between the USA and France, all the while chatting enthusiastically, laughing and joking.
Although their arrival was unannounced, they were mobbed by a huge crowd as they walked in and word quickly spread.
Obama enjoyed a hugely successful state visit to the UK in 2011, when he and his family stayed with the Queen.
And last year he and his wife had dinner with William, Kate and Harry at Kensington Palace, where they met Prince George.
Obama has also thrown his support behind Harry’s Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event for injured servicemen and women, taking place in Toronto this week.
When it was held in Florida last year the two men struck up a hilarious viral rivalry to publicize the competition, Harry playing the trump card by invoking his grandmother, the Queen to appear in a short ‘skit’ with him.
Harry and Obama were flying solo at the event, as they were both seen without their respective other halves, Michelle and actress Meghan Markle.
However, they were joined by former US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, who sat alongside the pair as they enjoyed the thrilling game from front-row seats.
Financial analyst Jessica Stickle, 24, who also joined the pair on the front row, told DailyMail.com that she had no idea she would be seated alongside such a high-profile group.
She said: ‘It was awesome. I had no idea I was going to be sat with them or that Barack Obama was coming.
‘I just said to Barack ‘thank you so much for what you’ve done. I love you and my grandma loves Prince Harry.
‘Prince Harry said, ‘It’s nice to meet you and thanks for being here.’ They were both chatting to the two ladies next to me. I think they’re both nurses in Germany.
‘Harry and Barack were laughing a lot with each other and seemed like best buds. They were cheering and Barack was giving the thumbs up so he seemed really happy with the result.’
Among those who met the Prince and Obama were three small children who approached the pair shyly for a photograph.
Otis Harding-Withers, six, was lifted onto Prince Harry’s lap after saying hello, while Jakob Israel, eight, and his seven-year-old sister Grace posed in front of Obama.
Jakob and Grace are the children of Jason Israel, who has served three tours in Afghanistan with the Canadian forces and and competed in the track events after suffering an operational stress injury.
Jakob’s emotional mother, Amanda Israel, said she had used the moment to thank Prince Harry for setting up the Games.
‘I told him: thank you for giving me my husband back,’ she said, sobbing with emotion as she spoke.
‘It was the first time we could share and say thank you to him. The fact Barack Obama was with him as well, incredible.
‘Grace has been talking about him all week.’
Heather Harding, mother of Otis, said her son has simply walked over towards the Prince just as he and Mr Obama settled into their front row bleacher seats.
‘Harry asked me if it was OK and put him on his lap,’ she said.
‘He was as lovely as I thought he would be.’
At the start of the Invictus Games, Harry was joined by President Trump’s wife Melania; however, Donald has not made an appearance at the games.
Prince Harry became the first member of the Royal Family to meet a Trump since last year’s presidential election after he met First Lady Melania in Toronto ahead of the Invictus Games’ opening ceremony on Saturday.
Melania and Harry spent less than 30 minutes together before the royal left for another engagement – the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge.
Despite its brevity, the meeting appeared cordial with the pair warmly shaking hands before settling down to talk in a room at the Sheraton Hotel.
The prince dressed in a dark blue suit while the 47-year-old first lady wore a tailored black-and-white dog tooth Dior suit and black heels.
Harry initially appeared awkward when he was introduced to the Slovenian former model, smiling brightly for the cameras before letting it drop as he turned away.
The pair then engaged in small talk with Melania thanking the prince for coming before he asked her if she had been in Canada long.
Later, Harry gushed over the Canadian city during a brief meeting with outgoing Governor General David Johnston.
Toronto has won a special place in the prince’s heart since he began dating Suits actress Meghan Markle who keeps a home there.
Harry, who has spent quiet weekends there with his girlfriend and her dogs, told Governor General Johnston it had become a ‘home away from home’ for him.
‘It’s always fantastic to be here,’ he said. Asked by the Governor General about the Invictus Games Harry said: ‘They have just grown and grown. I’d like them to go on for fifty years if I could.’
Mr Johnston is standing down at the end of the month after seven years in the job to be replaced by businesswoman and former astronaut Julie Payette, who last week met the Queen at Balmoral.
During their formal meeting earlier in the day, Harry and the first lady then settled down to discuss the Invictus Games’ success. Subsequently Melania moved on to meet some of the veterans taking part for Team USA in the games while Harry moved on to a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Melania led the US delegation at the international sporting event in her first solo foreign trip, as well as her first meeting with Harry.
It’s not the Trumps’ first encounter with royalty, however. In November 2005, the President and First Lady – then just a newlywed couple – met Harry’s father, Prince Charles, during a reception at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
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 Melania.
‘She feels strongly that they – and their families – should be honored every day,’ Grisham said.
Grisham said Melania, who became a US citizen in 2006, also has ‘great admiration for the role the games have played in empowering those who have been injured while serving.’
Later in the afternoon, Mrs Trump returned to the Sheraton to take part in a reception with Team USA athletes where she made a brief speech that lasted less than two minutes.
In the address, she said: ‘Invictus means unconquered and pays tribute to your fighting spirit. You have given so much for your country. You truly are our heroes. 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.
‘I also want to wish you good luck but I know you won’t need it in these games. Take that fighting spirit that I know you have and bring home the gold.
‘God bless you. God bless your families and God bless the United States of America.’
Following her remarks, FLOTUS shook hands with several athletes, including a seven or eight who approached her and asked for individual photos with their cellphones.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Rebecca English, Ruth Styles, Mary Kekatos and Erica Tempesta