The sweet story behind Meghan Markle’s and Prince Harry’s hug with an Invictus Games athlete


Lisa Johnston of Team U.K. She won the silver medal for shot put and spoke to Prince Harry: “I’m a bit of a hugger.”

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What’s better than a gold medal in the Invictus Games? A hug of congratulations from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry!

When Lisa Johnston of Team U.K. won gold in the shot-put competition and was awarded the gold medal, she put the Union Jack around her shoulders and shared a hug with the Duke of Sussex. The Duke of Sussex handed her the gold medal.

“I was shocked to win the gold,” Johnston said to People. “Prince Harry coming over had this big smile on his face. I said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m a bit of a hugger,’ and he said, ‘No problem,’ and hugged me. It was incredible.”

Following a “celebratory dance,” Johnston received a second hug from Harry and Meghan. Harry, the prince, and Meghan. The pair “both just came in and gave me this massive hug.”

Johnston was a part of her first stint in the Army beginning in 2001. She was a medical tech and served for 17 years in the Army. After she injured herself in a physical therapy session in 2014, she contracted a condition known as complex regional pain syndrome.

She says to PEOPLE, “The only way I can best describe it is by having a million paper cuts, rubbed down with alcohol gel, rubbed with sandpaper, and set on fire,” she says to PEOPLE.

In June 2016, she underwent an operation to amputate her leg to ease the pain.

After joining a gym and establishing connections with those who competed in the Invictus Olympics, Johnston found common ground with his fellow athletes.

“Being with like-minded people, you talk, you relate to similar situations. It was a laugh,” she adds. “The morale you missed from being in the forces, it was there again. It picks you up. You have a right giggle.”

Invictus Games Invictus games at The Hague marked the first time the mother of three boys watched her two sons, the youngest, observe her running.

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“I got proper emotional,” she declares. “My boys saw me run, and I saw how proud they were of me. I’m mum at the end of the day. I want to make my kids proud. During this whole experience, I don’t see what all the fuss is about because I’m just a mum. ”

Johnston also held a toy bear sporting prosthetic legs while celebrating her shot put victory.

“I’ve got a little mascot for me, Ted. “Teddy’s like me,” she declares. “When I’m not with my kids, I can hug Ted, hugging them.”

She continues, “If I didn’t have a family, hand on my heart, I would not be here. That’s a scary thing to think about. It’s my family that got me through this. As a mum, I don’t have the luxury of feeling sorry for myself.”

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A day before their kiss, Johnston met Prince Harry at the Jaguar Land Rover Driving Challenge — and joked that after two visits, the prince is “my best mate — he can’t stop following me around.”

Johnston also gave Prince Harry a keyring.

“I said, ‘Hi, I’m a mum, artsy-crafty, I’ve been making keyrings in yellow and black for Invictus, and the key fob says ‘Never give up.’ I said, ‘I’ve made one for you.’ ”

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